Jenson Button still finds it surprising that Lando Norris signed a long-term contract with McLaren. The young Englishman is still stuck in Woking until the end of 2025 and, in hindsight, Button says that was not the best choice for his compatriot.
“I was surprised when he signed a long-term contract,” says the former Formula 1 driver Sky Sports F1. “Because in this sport you don’t know who’s in the front and you have to be in a winning car. Your talent is not enough to get a car forward. You know, you can help them develop, but you have to be in a competitive car that can win races and McLaren didn’t give it that.
So Norris mainly needs a better car at this stage of his career, Button thinks. “They’re doing well, but at this point in his career he needs to be in a winning car. So take a good look at what happens in the coming years’, Button Norris advises. “I really hope that teams like McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin will get closer to the top three and even be able to challenge those teams.”
Norris has time, but gets ‘very talented’ teammate in Piastri
That teams like McLaren participate at the front is the purpose of the budget cap, Button knows. ‘And also the wind tunnel time that the top teams get a lot less if they perform well in a season in the coming year. So hopefully we will see benefits from that in 2023-24 and I think so too, “predicts the former driver, who comes with the nuance that Norris also has time to win.
“He is still the young Lando and now he has a very fast new teammate in Oscar Piastri, who is also very talented,” Button continued. The former McLaren driver believes both Norris and Piastri will be under pressure next season. “And especially Piastri, who is making his debut in Formula 1 and immediately gets into a reasonably competitive car.”