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Lando Norris pledges to stay with McLaren until 2026 and aims to compete for the Formula One championship.
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Lando Norris pledges to stay with McLaren until 2026 and aims to compete for the Formula One championship.

McLaren has announced that Lando Norris has extended his contract with the team for several years, ensuring his presence as a British driver until at least the conclusion of the 2026 Formula One season.

McLaren have made no secret of their desire to keep Norris, with the 24-year-old, who joined the team in 2017, recognised as one of the best drivers on the grid.

His contract was scheduled to end in 2025, however, McLaren was aware that other teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari, and Audi, who plan to join the competition in 2026, might try to lure him away.

Norris is committed to staying with McLaren and believes that the team will provide him with the chance to compete for a world championship. He stated that there are few other guarantees or assurances he can expect from other teams. Ultimately, his decision comes down to where he will be happiest and have the most confidence in achieving the world championship. He now has even more confidence in saying that McLaren is the team for him.

In 2023, Norris was amazed by the team’s impressive improvement. Despite starting behind, the team was able to make significant changes to their car’s aerodynamics during the winter season, thanks to the guidance of new team principal, Andrea Stella.

Following the Austrian Grand Prix, Norris and his teammate Oscar Piastri achieved nine podium finishes, with Norris claiming six second-place finishes. These results contributed to the team’s overall fourth place standing in the constructors’ championship. In the drivers’ championship, Norris finished in sixth place, earning the second highest number of points over the last 14 races of the season, just behind Max Verstappen.

The team’s improvement played a crucial role in his choice to make a commitment. He stated, “The turnaround was a significant factor. While I have enjoyed the past few years, there have been many difficult ones. Occasionally, I would question if this is the right place to achieve my next goal. However, with the way Andrea and the team have turned things around and the positive atmosphere at McLaren, it swayed me towards staying because results are also important.”

Piastri had a great debut season last year and will continue to compete until 2026 as he is currently under contract.

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This year, the team has been able to take full advantage of the new wind tunnel and simulator facilities that were added in 2023. They are hopeful that the progress they made in the second half of last season will continue in 2024, starting with the first race in Bahrain on March 2nd.

Source: theguardian.com