McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl says Lando Norris’ new long-term deal does not imply that the Briton now has “number one status” with the Woking-based outfit.
Last week, ahead of the launch of its 2022 car, McLaren extended Norris’ deal until the end of 2025, a move that guarantees the latter’s future with the papaya squad and that reflects the team’s confidence in its young gun.
However, when queried on Norris’ status after Friday’s presentation of its MCL36, Seidl made clear that despite the longevity of the Briton’s allegiance to McLaren, there will be no preferential treatment for him relative to teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
“If you are after, ‘Is McLaren having a number one driver?’, for example, definitely not,” said the McLaren F1 team boss.
“My job is to go with the team. To make sure we always provide both drivers equal opportunities to do well on track and then battle it out on track.
“Of course, with Lando now being with the team since 2017, going into his fourth racing season now with us, showing last year that – with the right team and with the right car, in his third year in Formula 1 – he can score pole positions and he can fight for race wins.
“It was just natural for us, that we obviously try to lock him in as long as possible here at McLaren, because, the most important thing is that we are fully aligned also with the timelines in terms of the journey we are in.
“And therefore we’re very happy to know that we have Lando [for] four more years as a driver, which is the most important thing obviously.
“We know he can pull it off when it matters.”
- Read also: Norris had ‘little chats, here and there’ with other teams
Speaking about his new deal, Norris admitted it had come with a pay rise although he was predictably tight-lipped regarding the amount.
“Yes, it will definitely help me a little bit more!” said Norris.
“With all contracts, that’s something that comes into it. If you do have a good season then, naturally, it will rise a little bit, especially if there’s opportunities from other teams.
“That’s something that always helps with the money side of it.”
Nevertheless, Norris insisted that he certainly doesn’t put money at the top of his priorities.
“I know everyone says it but, honestly, that’s not the biggest thing for me,” he added.
“I’ve always said my enjoyment and happiness comes above all, and that’s still, for me, the most important thing.
“That is the deciding factor in all of this. I said [before] I wouldn’t have moved to Monaco, but things change and, with that, my happiness and my enjoyment are above everything.”
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