Lando Norris has conceded that he has harboured thoughts of leaving McLaren but is defiant it remains the team in Formula 1 he is determined to succeed with.
While Norris has scored eight career podiums to this point and a solitary pole position since debuting in 2019, he is still awaiting his elusive maiden race win in F1.
After McLaren recorded progressive finishes of fourth and third in his first two years, the Woking-based side slipped to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship last term.
And following an admission over the winter it had missed development targets with its MCL60 car, McLaren endured its worst start to a season in six years, failing to score a single point in the opening two rounds and slumping to the foot of the standings.
However, McLaren has soared into front-running contention since the introduction of its revised car, with Norris claiming second place in successive races at Silverstone and Budapest, leading him to reaffirm his commitment to his current employers.
“I want to win races with McLaren. I want to win in papaya, I want to win championships,” Norris told Sky F1.
“I want to achieve my success and I want to achieve my goals with McLaren. That’s been my target since I’ve come here, since I’ve entered Formula 1 with this team.
“I guess I’m a loyal guy from that point of view, that I’ve joined the team, they gave me a chance in Formula 1 and I want to deliver and achieve success for them.
“And I think it’s a cooler story at the same time, to go from where we were a few years ago – a team that was really struggling – to fighting back and being that first team to really come back from a long way and fight for championships and wins. I think it would be just a cool story to look back on in 10, 20 years.”
While McLaren’s recent resurgence has satisfied Norris, the 23-year-old admits that he has considered the possibility of moving away from McLaren to a rival team.
The McLaren driver has continuously been the subject of interest from Red Bull, with Norris revealing there has been contact between the two camps in previous years.
Norris signed a four-year deal with McLaren at the beginning of 2022, tying him to the side contractually until the end of 2025.
“In the back of my mind, there’s that impatient game of, ‘do I stick it out for another few years, or is it time to look at something different?’” he pondered.
“But the more we achieve things as we have done over the past few weeks, the more I’m very confident with the decision I made to stay until 2025, and the more confident I am that we can achieve our goals together in the future.”
Meanwhile, McLaren CEO Zak Brown is confident of retaining Norris provided the team continues to build upon the recent momentum that has witnessed it stake a claim to be Red Bull’s nearest competitor.
“I think the way you keep him is to give him a good race car,” Brown said via Sky F1 following Norris’ second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“And as long as we can give him a good race car, well he loves the environment, he loves the team. He’s been on this journey [with us].
“Obviously we were all a bit frustrated at the start of the year but now he has two second-place finishes. I think as long as we keep doing that, then he’ll stick around.”