Why McLaren is confident that Norris is ‘World Championship material’

McLaren has indicated that Lando Norris has all the indications of being “World Championship material” following his commitment to the team.

Norris penned a long-term deal with McLaren last week, ensuring that he remains with the team beyond the end of the 2025 campaign.

Doubts were raised over the longevity of McLaren’s line-up amid alleged interest in Norris from Red Bull, but the team has its drivers locked down for at least the next three seasons with rookie Oscar Piastri securing a contract extension last year.

Norris already has five F1 seasons with McLaren under his belt and has fashioned a strong reputation for himself amid a series of strong performances during his F1 tenure so far.

Overseeing McLaren’s F1 operations is Andrea Stella who has worked with drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen during his career.

When asked if Norris fits into that category of driver, Stella told media including RacingNews365: “Lando definitely stands together with them.

“It’s the same category, the same kind of World Championship material, the underlying talent, the mindset, the work ethos – it’s all ready to go.”

Norris’ growth

Norris has 13 podiums to his name but is yet to secure a race win and currently holds the record for the most points scored without a Grand Prix victory.

McLaren jumped from back-of-the-grid competition to podium-competing form in a handful of months last year and has high expectations for its upcoming car.

While the team is vying to improve its on-track performance, Stella highlighted that Norris’ desire to do so is apparent.

“When you think about champions, a characteristic of champions is that they only get better,” he said. “Real champions, they seem to just improve year by year.

“That’s the case because they use intelligence, the ethos, they get the best people around them.

“They do whatever it takes to get better and better because the sport only gets more and more competitive.

“So definitely, we have all the raw material, which we saw already when Lando was doing FP1 with us, it was very evident in 2018 and then it kept growing.

“It’s there, we just need to keep growing year after year, like every champion does. But we are extremely, extremely happy and committed to Lando, in this respect.”

Contract length

McLaren did not disclose how long Norris’ new contract with the team runs for beyond it being a “multi-year” extension.

It differed from Piastri’s extension that was announced last year as McLaren clarified in the announcement that the deal ran until the end of 2026.

When asked why the team has opted to keep certain terms under wraps, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “Because it’s our business. Sometimes you discuss it, sometimes you don’t.

“Actually last time when we discussed it, that was a bit more unusual.

“I think typically, just as Ferrari announced with Charles [Leclerc], typically [we do] not give too many details, so we see no reason to advertise any details of anybody’s contracts.”

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