Lando Norris opens up on mental health struggles in rookie McLaren F1 season
In his debut Formula 1 season in 2019, Lando Norris admits to being "depressed a lot of the time" and wondering: "Am I going to be in Formula 1 next year? If I'm not, what am I going to do?"
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 04/10/21 5:49pm
Lando Norris has admitted to being "depressed a lot of the time" and worrying about his F1 future during his rookie season in the sport, as the McLaren driver opened up about the mental health struggles he faced.
Norris debuted in F1 as a 19-year-old in 2019, becoming the youngest ever British driver. He quickly became a star both on and off the track, showing immediate speed while also proving a hugely popular figure in the paddock and with fans with his jovial and fun-loving personality.
But Norris, who finished 11th in the standings in that campaign, says there were a lot of things behind the scenes people were not aware of as he described why the pressure "took its toll".
"I guess people, when you just watch TV, don't realise many things that a driver goes through," Norris said on This Morning on ITV. "It's a bit of a shame but there's more programmes now where you get to see what the driver is like behind the scenes, and the amount of pressure and stress that they have to cope with.
"Especially at my age, coming into Formula 1 at 19, there's a lot of eyes of you. So dealing with all these kind of things, that took its toll on me."
Norris, who arrived in F1 with a stellar reputation having shone as a junior, added: "[I was] feeling like, I don't know what's next, if this goes wrong, if I don't go out in the next session and perform, what's the outcome of all of this?
"Am I going to be in Formula 1 next year? If I'm not, what am I going to do? Because I'm not really good at many other things in life.
"So just all of that, and then feeling a depressed a lot of time that if I have a bad weekend I just think, I'm not good enough and things like that.
"When they start adding up over a season, and the social media side of it all, that can just really start to hurt you."
Norris credits a combination of support from his McLaren team, and working with mental healthy charity Mind, with helping him get to a much better happier headspace.
"I'm in a much better place now. I'm much happier and I can enjoy everything I do," said Norris.
Norris is enjoying a superb 2021 season, currently fourth in the standings. He nearly won the Russian GP before rain heartbreak, with Lewis Hamilton eventually taking his 100th victory.