During a recent episode of The Race Podcast, journalist Scott Mitchell-Malm delved into the enigma surrounding McLaren’s decision to keep the details of Lando Norris’s contract extension under wraps. In a year where Formula 1 driver transfers dominate headlines, McLaren has opted for a veil of secrecy.
As the 2024 season approaches, McLaren has prudently secured their driver lineup for the future. Oscar Piastri’s impressive debut with the team earned him a contract extension midway through his rookie Formula 1 season, ensuring his presence until the end of 2026. Additionally, Lando Norris was slated to remain with McLaren until the conclusion of the 2025 season.
However, McLaren recently delighted their fans by announcing Norris’s contract extension, albeit without disclosing the duration of the new deal. The official statement characterizes it as an ‘extended multi-year’ agreement, indicating Norris’s commitment beyond his previous contract. Nevertheless, the finer details of this agreement remain shrouded in mystery.
Scott Mitchell-Malm offered insights into the two potential reasons behind McLaren’s decision to withhold specific details regarding Norris’s contract. He posited, “There will be a reason why they told us when [Lando] Norris’s last deal ran to and they told us when [Oscar] Piastri’s deal runs to but they won’t tell us when this deal runs to.”
He continued, suggesting two possible explanations: “One, it’s either that Norris hasn’t committed for as long as he did before. So, he hasn’t entered into another four-year deal, and McLaren doesn’t want excessive scrutiny on why he’s opted for a three-year deal this time, compared to his previous four-year commitment.”
“Or,” Mitchell-Malm speculated, “it could be related to the inclusion of break clauses. The last time Norris extended his contract with McLaren, we were informed that he didn’t include a break clause. However, the circumstances have evolved since then. He’s matured as a driver, and other teams have shown interest in him.”
Mitchell-Malm added, “So, it wouldn’t be surprising if this new deal incorporates some form of option, perhaps performance-related or other contingencies.”
While the duration of Norris’s contract remains a pertinent point of discussion, McLaren’s primary objective is to meet their performance targets and create an environment where Norris has no incentive to consider offers from other teams. Norris, at the age of 24, may eventually seek new challenges in his career, which could make him a highly sought-after driver in the Formula 1 landscape.
However, McLaren can take solace in the potential of having another exceptionally talented driver alongside Norris, which could help retain their competitive edge in the sport.