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Lando Norris: McLaren driver signs extended multi-year F1 deal to stay at team beyond 2025 as he targets world title

McLaren secure "hot property" Lando Norris to a new extended term beyond the end of his previous deal, which was due to expire in 2025; Norris tells Sky Sports while he did hold "little discussions" with rivals, he is "more convinced than ever" he can win the world title where he is

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EXCLUSIVE: Lando Norris believes McLaren can help him fulfil his F1 goals and signing a contract extension was not a tough decision

Lando Norris has committed his future to McLaren after signing a multi-year contract extension, with the Briton declaring he is "more convinced than ever" that he can become F1 world champion at the resurgent team.

Norris' previous agreement, signed two years ago, still had two seasons left to run until the end of 2025 and there had been suggestions that world champions and known admirers Red Bull could make a play for him either at the end of this season, to replace the out-of-contract Sergio Perez, or when the Briton's deal was up a year later.

But, a week after acknowledging Norris was a "hot property" in F1's driver market, McLaren chief Zak Brown has tied up the 24-year-old on an extended multi-year term into the sport's next era of regulations from 2026.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News at McLaren's Woking base, Norris confirmed he did have "little discussions" with rival outfits but that ultimately it "was an easy one for me" to extend his McLaren career even further in to the future in the wake of the team's in-season surge up the field last year.

"There are two things which really influence my decisions," Norris said.

"One, do I enjoy where I'm at or will I enjoy where I go to? And, two, will this team help me achieve my goal which is to become Formula 1 world champion?

"Both are now yes really and I'm more convinced than ever that that second one is especially a yes.

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"I love it here. I've loved it here since day one, I'm very much part of the papaya family, and I want to continue that story and that chapter of trying to achieve that goal.

"That trajectory we've been on last year hopefully continues and that's going to help us achieve that goal of a world championship."

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Lando Norris says he did discuss his F1 future with other teams but believes McLaren have proved they can rival the likes of Red Bull very soon

After a dismal start to 2023, McLaren made huge strides up F1's order in the second half of last season after a crucial summer car upgrade and were only outscored by dominant Red Bull on points over the final 14 races.

Norris' extended deal means that the team, who now their long-awaited new wind tunnel and simulator in operation and have made several high-profile technical hires over the past 12 months, have the Briton and 22-year-old team-mate Oscar Piastri, the Australian who enjoyed an impressive debut campaign last year, on long-term deals until at least the end of 2026, the first year of F1's big engine rules overhaul when they will continue to be powered by Mercedes.

McLaren did not specify the length of Norris' contract extension but 'multi-year' beyond 2025 would signify it runs until at least the end of the 2027 season.

Charles Leclerc, another of F1's biggest stars, extended his Ferrari stay by "several more seasons" on Thursday.

Brown, McLaren's CEO, said: "It's been a fantastic journey over the last six years, and he has shown fantastic commitment and desire to push the team forward and get McLaren back to the front of the grid.

"Last season we saw the fundamental role Lando played with the impressive turnaround in results and I'm looking forward to continuing this push forward together with lots more podiums."

Norris on 'little discussions' with rivals and early timing of renewal

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Following the news that McLaren have signed a multi-year contract extension with Lando Norris beyond 2025, take a look back at the 24-year-old's most memorable drives in his career so far.

Like his previous deal in 2022, Norris has renewed his McLaren agreement just weeks before the start of a season, this time arguably when his stock in F1 has never been higher.

He did confirm some informal talks had been held with other teams but, having decided McLaren remained the best place for him, he felt it was important to get a deal done early to shut down the rumour mill.

"There's always discussions every now and then," he said. "I'm not going to lie and say no, there's always little discussions and you talk to people and see 'what could you offer' kind of thing but it never went further than that.

"There's always been things in the media and stories being written and that's never the best thing for everyone here back in the factory.

"If you're working away making a part that's going to be on my car, if you see Norris has links to here or there, it's never probably the best thing to see.

"So for the team's sake I think it's always why we wanted to get it done now just to put those rumours to rest. And that was it. I was convinced this is where I want to stay so as much as there were 'hey, how are you?' kinds of things at other places, it never went further than that, and as soon as I came back here it was a done deal."

Image: Norris believes McLaren can challenge Red Bull's supremacy in 2024 and beyond

Any prospect of a move for Norris to Red Bull is therefore now off the table for the foreseeable future.

Asked why he had opted not to pursue any path to the world champions, where he could have partnered triple champion Max Verstappen, Norris replied: "Considering we are talking about the most competitive and successful car in the history of Formula 1 over a season - and I think you have to include the driver in that too - how close we got at certain places with where we started [last] season I think was pretty impressive.

"To go from out of the points pretty much every single race to being probably the closest team on average to the most successful car that's ever been in Formula 1, I think showed me enough, and showed everyone here at McLaren enough, that we have what it takes to challenge them.

"Therefore I want to create my own chapter and my own story of being with McLaren and turning the team around and being part of that journey.

"Of course there's always interest and in the back of my mind it's always like 'what would happen if I went here and what could I achieve' and so forth.

"But I'm happy with where I am, I'm comfortable and I think in order to achieve a world championship you need to be happy and comfortable with where you're at and I don't think you are able to achieve that by suddenly switching to another team and finding that within a year. So that's why I think it's best."

Norris: Not a 'smart move' to join Verstappen at Red Bull now

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Sky Sports News' Craig Slater reports that Max Verstappen's Hungarian GP trophy will be replaced after Lando Norris accidentally damaged it during his podium celebration.

With Norris joining Leclerc in committing his future to his current team, two of the sport's biggest stars are off the market for the next few years and out of contention to join Verstappen at Red Bull were the champions to opt for a blockbuster second driver beyond their existing stable of drivers.

Verstappen and Norris are firm friends, and have said they would like to race each other if the opportunity came up in future, but Norris explained in detailed form why he believes it does not make sense for any driver to join the all-conquering Dutchman by choice right now.

Asked if there was any 'fear' attached to going up against Verstappen at Red Bull, Norris said: "I think it's a longer discussion than just saying that. Is Max one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1? Absolutely. I think he's proved that enough.

"He's in a team that he's very comfortable in, a lot of things are built up around him, so for anyone, even a Max of a few years ago, to go in against the Max of now is extremely difficult.

"So I don't think it's a question of 'are you scared or not scared?' I don't think I'd ever be scared of going against anyone, but even if you enter a team are you in a position to challenge someone straight away and are comfortable to do that?

Image: There will be no Lando Norris-Max Verstappen dream team anywhere for the time being

"I think it's a no for any driver. It takes time to adapt and it takes time to get into place and if you want to go against the best driver in the world it's not the best thing to do. It's not a smart move to do.

"But I would love to race against Max, I've enjoyed some of the battles that we're had, and looking even more forward to the battles we're going to have this year."

Norris and McLaren: The story so far

Lando Norris

Norris first joined McLaren on their young driver scheme aged 17 in 2017 and graduated to an F1 race seat two years later

While he may still be waiting for a maiden Grand Prix win after five seasons and 104 races at the top level, no one appears in any doubt that Norris is a serial race winner and world championship contender in waiting.

If there was any lingering uncertainty left as to his ultimate ability then these were surely dispelled in 2023 when, once McLaren sorted their MCL38 out after a shocking start, Norris finished runner-up six times in the final 13 races of the Max Verstappen-Red Bull dominated campaign.

He scored more points than any driver bar Verstappen from July's Austrian GP onwards, the race at which McLaren first significantly upgraded their car, as the team often emerged as Red Bull's nearest challenger.

Lando Norris' McLaren record to date

Seasons 5
Debut race 2019 Australian GP
Race starts 104
Wins 0
Best race finish 2nd (x7)
Podiums 13
Pole postions 1
Front-row starts 5
Best championship finish 6th (2021 & 2023)

Norris' 13 podiums in F1 to date mean he is tied with former BMW and Williams driver Nick Heidfield for the most combined second and third place finishes without a win.

Speaking recently to Sky Sports before Norris' contract was extended, Sky F1 pundit and former McLaren driver Jenson Button said there was no doubting his countryman's "exceptional" ability.

"Lando is an extreme talent, he really is," said Button, the 2009 world champion.

"I've watched him since the first time he turned an F1 steering wheel in Hungary [2017 testing] and it's amazing how quickly he got to grips with it.

"But also he's a real thinker and sometimes that hurts him because he looks at himself too much and worries that he's not good enough - but he is.

"He's exceptional and I can't wait to see him in equipment that can fight for victories. But I don't know when that's going to come."

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McLaren have revealed their brand new 2024 livery ahead of the new Formula 1 season.

McLaren, who have already unveiled a reworked livery for the new 2024 season, unveil their MCL38 car on February 14.

24 races in 2024! Watch every round of next season live on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

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