Lando Norris: McLaren driver says 'no regrets' over signing contract extension before Lewis Hamilton's Ferrari move

February 23, 2024

Lando Norris insists he has "no regrets" over signing a long-term contract extension with McLaren before Lewis Hamilton's exit from Mercedes was confirmed.

McLaren announced in January that Norris, 24, had signed a multi-year extension to his previous deal, which had been set to expire in 2025.

Less than a week later, Ferrari confirmed that Hamilton would be joining from Mercedes in 2025, shaking up the driver market and leaving a highly desirable Silver Arrows seat available for next season.

"I'm very happy," Norris said as pre-season testing came to a close in Bahrain on Friday. "I could have waited. I had the choice.

"I knew opportunities were potentially coming my way, I knew what opportunities I had at the time of last year and coming into this year and what could have happened, or what is happening over the next couple of years anyway.

"So no, no regrets from any side. I'm confident in my team, I'm confident in what we've been able to achieve and what we can achieve going into the future and I'm very happy with where I am."

Norris, who has spent the entirety of his F1 career with McLaren since entering the sport in 2019, had been heavily linked with a move away from the Woking-based team after their poor start to 2023.

However, a remarkable mid-season turnaround which saw Norris take seven podiums from July onwards, clearly restored the Brit's faith in the team.

"Of course, I could be happier if we're achieving more of the goals that I think we all want to achieve," he added. "But the main point is that I'm enjoying my time with the guys that I'm with and for me, that's always a big part of my life, is that I want to enjoy where I am, and I am.

"And I think that's an important part of trying to improve as a team at the same time, and knowing everyone and pushing everyone, and I think everyone's capable of getting to the goal of being the top team in Formula 1, so I'm very happy."

Norris warns of Red Bull, Ferrari deficits after testing 'setbacks'

Despite his certainty that he has made the right decision to commit to McLaren, Norris admitted that the team's pre-season testing programme in Bahrain had not gone completely to plan.

McLaren completed the second least laps of the 10 teams as a series of technical issues hampered their progress.

"Just a few setbacks here and there actually over the last few days," Norris said.

"So not the end of the world definitely, but just of course you always want a perfect day and we didn't get any long running high fuel stuff last night and we moved into this morning and we still didn't get it this (Friday) morning.

"So not exactly what I wanted but there's still plenty of things learned and a lot of stuff that I wanted to get done, done. So I was happy for the most part, but a couple of little things that I wish I could have done more."

Unsurprisingly, given his historic dominance of 2023, Red Bull's Max Verstappen appears to be the driver to beat going into the opening race of the season in Bahrain next Saturday.

Norris' acceptance of starting behind Verstappen was to be expected, but his suggestion that Ferrari may also be a significant step ahead of McLaren was more of a surprise.

He said: "Do I think we've taken a step forward? Absolutely. Do I think we've made a lot of things better? Yes. But you just never really know in the end of the day where we stand compared to others.

"I think we're in a we're in a good position. We had a decent car at the end of last season and I think we've definitely taken some steps in the right direction, but I think still a very long way behind Red Bull, and a long way behind Ferrari still.

"So plenty of work for us to still try to achieve, but also plenty of things that we've learned over the last few days for us to implement before next week."

Sky Sports F1's live Bahrain GP schedule

Wednesday February 28

  • 12.30pm: Drivers' Press Conference
  • 3pm: The F1 Show - 2024 Preview

Thursday February 29

  • 7.50am: F3 Practice
  • 9am: F2 Practice
  • 11am: Bahrain GP Practice One (session starts at 11.30am)
  • 12.55pm: F3 Qualifying
  • 1.40pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 2.35pm: Bahrain GP Practice Two (session starts at 3pm)
  • 4.15pm: The F1 Show

Friday March 1

  • 10.10am: F3 Sprint Race
  • 12.15pm: Bahrain GP Practice Three (session starts at 1pm)
  • 2.10pm: F2 Sprint
  • 3.10pm: Bahrain GP Qualifying build-up
  • 6pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Saturday March 2

  • 8.55am: F3 Feature Race
  • 10.25am: F2 Feature Race
  • 1.30pm: Bahrain GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 5pm: Bahrain GP reaction: Chequered Flag
  • 6pm: Ted's Notebook

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