Lando Norris has admitted there were “little chats here and there” with other teams last season before he committed his long-term future to McLaren.
Norris had already signed a multi-year contract extension last May for a further two seasons, but he and the team showed a “sign of mutual confidence” in each other that prompted a new deal to be struck that will keep him with the Woking squad until the end of 2025 at least.
While Norris said “you’d probably be able to guess reasonably well” as to which teams had shown a small interest in his services, he was quick to clarify none of those conversations led to firm talks of a move away from McLaren.
“There were little chats here and there. But that’s all, and nothing went far,” said the Briton.
“As soon as something came up, that’s when I would continue to go to Andreas [Seidl] and have a conversation about what our future holds and so on.
News like this deserves to be celebrated, right @LandoNorris? 🎊🥳 pic.twitter.com/N78RhXASjL — McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 9, 2022
“There were little things, [there’s] no point lying about it, here and there with various other teams, but nothing that went far at all.”
Seidl said he was “not aware of any teams speaking to me about getting Lando”, but was keen to put a structure in place to keep the 22-year-old at the team, even more so after a breakthrough season in 2021.
The team have long been vocal about their ambitions to get back to the front of the Formula 1 field, with Daniel Ricciardo having ended McLaren’s barren run without a win at Monza last September.
The team principal added they have made significant changes in the way they operate as they look to put their plan into action, and having Norris’ future secured long into the future was “very important” for them.
“With the announcement last year, it was just an extension of an existing contract which brought us only to two more years with Lando,” Seidl said.
“If you look at the overall plan we have in place here, the journey we are on, we know despite the good steps we made in previous years we have big next steps to make.
“We also know after all of our organisational changes we did here at McLaren, the cultural changes – that’s the plan we have in place on the infrastructure side – we simply need more time in order to keep growing as a team and to finish these infrastructure projects and actually benefit from them.
“In order to achieve these ambitious targets we are having, to get back to the position where we fight for race wins every weekend, having Lando with us and having this consistency and continuity in the driver line-up will be an absolute key to achieve these targets or these objectives.
“Of course, it’s very important to lock in Lando with us to the end of ’25.”