Lando Norris hits back at criticism over signing new McLaren contract

Lando Norris has responded to question marks over his decision to sign a new multi-year contract with McLaren, following the team’s poor start to the 2022 F1 season.

In February, the 22-year-old opted to sign a four-year contract, which keeps him at McLaren until the end of 2025. The length of the agreement was particularly notable.

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Over recent years, the team has gradually improved, and won the Italian Grand Prix in 2021. That was their first win since 2012. Their struggles that dogged them during the early years of the hybrid engine era seemed to have passed. On the face of it, that made Norris’s decision to commit to the team a relatively easy one.

However, McLaren have had a disastrous start to this season. They have struggled with F1’s huge regulation changes. The Mercedes power unit is a significant drawback, and the team missed out on most of Bahrain testing due to brake issues.

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With Norris and teammate Daniel Ricciardo in 10th and 19th place, respectively, McLaren are currently in a disappointing eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.

Read: Daniel Ricciardo opens up on Red Bull exit after Christian Horner remarks

Jenson Button questions Lando Norris

According to the Daily Express, the Brit is the third-highest earner in the entire sport. His monstrous deal has resulted in him taking home a whopping £10.5 million a year. Over four years, his new contract is reportedly worth £80 million.

Norris is rated as one of the top prospects in F1, and his salary underlines that fact.

But he has been questioned about his decision to sign a new deal. Former F1 world champion Jenson Button spent seven years with McLaren and pointed to the risks of signing a contract of this magnitude.

He told Sky Sports: “For Lando, it was surprising that he signed such a long contract at the start of his career. We all want to be team players. But you never know where the team is going to be in three years.

“This [lack of pace] is going to be a big hit. Five years to go, and he is going to be like, ‘Oh, okay’. But all he can do is go back to the team, tell them what the issues are and try and resolve them.”

However, despite the voices of concern, Norris has dismissed any issues with his decision. He still believes that McLaren has the potential to do big things in the coming years.

Lando Norris hits back at criticism

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He said: “I see a lot of stories that say I have made the wrong decision. But that is not the case. I am happy. I have all the faith in the world that we can still achieve good things in the next few years. And if I had to make that decision again, I would still do what I did.

“There were chances to go to other teams. But is it the best thing to be somewhere different for one or two years, and then it might be worse? Or is it better to be here and play the long game? I have more confidence in the long game, and I want to do it with McLaren anyway.

“It is easy for people to question from the outside. You cannot please everyone, and not everyone has the facts and knowledge that I do. You just have to live with it.”

This weekend, the season continues at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. Norris and McLaren will hope that it kickstarts their season.

Featured Image Credit: Getty