After Carlos Sainz left McLaren to join Ferrari in one of the most particular seasons of Formula 1 in history, Lando Norris, being just 21-years-old and in his third F1 season, declares himself ready to take the center stage in the British team in 2021.
“That’s my aim for the next few years, to be the main guy in the team,” says Norris – often a light-hearted interview subject but one who switches into a far more serious mode as you probe for detail. “There are going to be things Daniel will bring to the team; he’s going to be able to say some things that I can’t add, because I don’t have the 10 years of experience he has. He has been with different teams, he has won races and he has many more podiums [than me], and I can’t pretend to be better, because experience is a huge factor.” Lando stated in an interview with Autocar.co.uk.
“I feel very much at home with McLaren, so absolutely my aim is to stay with them and be on this journey from struggling those few years ago, being part of that improvement and, over the next few years, taking those next couple of steps."
The work never stopped pic.twitter.com/Eora3jrxPL— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) February 10, 2021
Pairing with Daniel Ricciardo, the McLaren’s line-up is one of the driver pairs that have generated the most expectation for the upcoming F1 season. The chemistry and good vibes between the two played a popular media story about the show off the tracks that Lando and Daniel could bring to the sport.
But neither of them is having any of it, with the Australian driver saying he’s at McLaren just for work purposes and not for a comedy show and now the British saying he has undoubtedly changed since his debut in the category, they’re not here to be labeled as the meme team.
“I dialled it back a bit. You don’t see as many jokes,” says Norris. “I’m hoping people will see me a bit differently.
“I’ve also shifted more time to working with the team: understanding how to improve my driving and the car, spending time with my engineers to gain that performance.
“I changed a bit, but in a better way to get more performance out of myself. I’ve not been as jokey and laughing as normal, the nerd I am. It’s not just to look better; it’s also for my own benefit.” Norris told AUTOCAR.
And going off the topic to what is really important, Lando also commented on his skills to improve and at what he has already become better when driving and achieving the best possible performance. Clearly, although none of the things on the list include his jokes and sense of humor, Lando knows that what really matters from his part are the results he will bring to the team.
“I’ve not ticked all of the boxes; there are things I need to improve on and still get better in,” says Norris. “But the big ones I feel I’ve ticked are the most important. The racing in general, I’ve been a lot more competitive; my race pace and my tyre saving, which were my focus coming into the year, I’m very happy with.
“I’ve been in positions to capitalise with a podium or bigger points. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a combination of some small things. You’re one or two seconds ahead and can score a lot more points because of it. I’ve been in those positions a lot more often, and it all adds up over time. I’m very happy with how I’ve done, but of course, there are always things I’d like to do that bit better on."