Red Bull recently re-signed Sergio Perez for 2022, but it appears that Norris was briefly on their radar at the start of the season.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said on Saturday that they were interested in signing Lando Norris until the British driver committed his future to McLaren. Earlier this season, Norris signed a new multi-year contract with McLaren. While the exact length of the contract is unknown, Norris is expected to drive for the team until at least the end of 2023. Red Bull appears to have been an option for Norris had he not wanted to stay with McLaren. The Milton Keynes-based constructor recently re-signed Sergio Perez for 2022, but it appears that Norris was briefly on their radar following a strong start to the season.
“We had talks with him, but he’s tied to McLaren for the long-term. We stay true to our way,” Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed in an interview with Austria’s OE24. It is no surprise that Norris was in high demand at one point. His performances with McLaren this season have clearly established him as one of the strongest favorites for the championship in the future. Norris could also be the one who takes the baton from Lewis Hamilton as the next exceptional British driver. Of course, he will have competition from Williams driver George Russell who will be a part of Mercedes next season.
Norris’ recent performances have been nothing short of outstanding. He finished second, for the first time in his career so far, at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza a few weeks ago. He might not have ended up on the podium after the Russian Grand Prix but that was just an unfortunate incident. Had the Sochi track been dry, Lando might well have taken first place.
The McLaren driver was superb in qualifying ahead of the Russian GP as he landed himself pole position on the grid for the first time in his career. His commitment to McLaren is a rare quality among drivers today that are overly focussed on their personal success over the team’s.
Marko, on the other hand, explained that even if they had signed Norris, Verstappen would still be regarded as the best driver in a Red Bull cockpit. The Dutch driver is a title challenger this season and is taking the fight to Hamilton. Verstappen had to start from the back of the grid in Sochi as he had changed his power unit ahead of the race. No one expected the Dutch to finish in one of the podium places but he ended up in second place on what was a fairly unpredictable Sochi track. There is no doubt that he will be Red Bull’s premier driver for years to come.
“Norris has caught my eye before,” Marko went on to comment.
“But Max is still at the top of my ranking because he can deliver immediately under all conditions and without making a mistake, which he proved again impressively just now in the rain in Sochi. He almost won the race, he just had to come into the pits one lap earlier,” he concluded.