The McLaren F1 team’s 22-year-old Brit driver, Lando Norris, has committed himself to the Papaya Orange team until he’s 26 with a new contract extension through the end of the 2025 season. As of right now, he’s the only driver on the grid to have a contract in place for the 2025 season, so he’s got that going for him. It’s a sign of confidence on behalf of both parties, with McLaren indicating the team thinks Norris is potentially a world championship talent, and Norris believing McLaren are capable of once again building a world championship car.
Some of the most successful Formula One teams in history have signed a driver for a long multi-year contract and then built a successful team around their driving style, personality, and engineering input. If this pays off, and McLaren has a grip on the new-for-2022 regulations, it could be a winning play for both driver and team. Norris joined the McLaren team in 2019, and had an extremely successful season in 2021 as the team continues to find footing on the grid, scoring four podiums and a pole, and very nearly finding victory in Russia.
“I’m extremely happy, it’s a big part of my career and life ticked off, and to stay in Formula 1 for another four years is pretty amazing from my side,” Norris said. “I’m super happy to do it with McLaren as well, the people I’ve grown up with, the people I’ve come into Formula 1 with. More than anything I would love to continue what we have and continue trying to reach that dream of ours, which is to get back to winning races and of course to get back to winning championships and so on.”
Seven seasons is a long time for any driver to stay with one team. Lewis Hamilton has famously been with the Mercedes team since 2013, Sebastian Vettel spent seven years under the Red Bull banner, and Michael Schumacher spent ten years racing for Ferrari. If Norris/McLaren can come even close to any of these dynasties, it will have been an incredibly strong move. If Lewis Hamilton does indeed retire at the end of 2022 (or if you believe the conspiracy theories as I do, never shows up for the start of the season) then Norris could be well placed as the favored son of the British Isles.