Lando Norris Reveals Leading Important McLaren F1 Meetings in Sainz’s Absence

Published 01/25/2021, 7:40 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


McLaren F1 head into the new season filled with optimism. Firstly, they ended the previous campaign as the unofficial ‘best of the rest,’ beating strong competition from the likes of Racing Point and Renault. Secondly, they will have a very exciting driver pairing for 2021. With Carlos Sainz having left for Ferrari, Lando Norris will be partnered with the vastly experienced Daniel Ricciardo.

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The duo are expected to deliver loads of off-track fun for fans. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll compromise on their on-track performances. Norris and Ricciardo may have similar personalities, but what they’ll bring to the team will be quite different.

According to Norris, this combined package from both drivers is what will give the team success.

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Formula One F1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. McLaren’s Lando Norris during practice. Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace
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The Briton said, “There are two sides to it. There is a guy with a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge who is coming to the team and is wanting to share that.

“Then there is me who knows how the team works and knows what we have dealt with over the last three to four years, how things work in terms of what the car is capable of doing and the directions on a weekend.

“There are things like that which Daniel isn’t going to know so it will be a mixture of both Daniel and myself having ideas and leading the way.”

Lando Norris opens up to leading team in 2020

Formula One F1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. McLaren’s Lando Norris arrives at the Yas Marina Circuit Hamad I Mohammed/Pool via REUTERS

With Sainz headed for the door in 2021, McLaren didn’t make him privy to meetings and debriefs, especially those concerned with car development. In the absence of the Spaniard, the 20-year-old Norris was tasked to lead the team.

He said, “There were a lot more debriefs and things that were led by myself, rather than Carlos, taking the car more in the direction I wanted it to be improved and thinking ahead to the future.”

Thrusting leadership onto his shoulders bodes well for both Lando’s and McLaren’s future. Many tout the Briton to be a future world champion, and the Woking-based team seem intent on having him usher a new era of glory for the team.

Norris believes Ricciardo’s experience will be vital for McLaren to offset the loss of Sainz

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 walks to his garage before qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The acquisition of Ricciardo is seen as a key component in McLaren repeating the performances of last year. The Australian driver turned up the heat in his second season with Renault, bagging two podiums in the campaign and consistently netting solid points for the team.

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About his new teammate, Norris said, “What he can bring from working at Red Bull and Renault and all these teams, with all these different drivers and engineers, that is stuff I can’t bring.

“There are going to be things on which Daniel is going to lead because he has that experience and that knowledge which I just simply don’t have.”

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Can the Woking-based outfit continue on their upward trajectory this year? Or will they succumb in a highly competitive mid-field battle? We’ll have to wait and watch.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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