(GMM) Momentum is continuing to build behind the idea that Lando Norris could become Max Verstappen’s next teammate at Red Bull.
The duo are friends, and world champion Verstappen suggested at Monza that only Briton Norris’ long McLaren contract is a barrier.
“Look, Lando is a great driver, there’s no doubt about that, and you can see his potential is growing,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said ahead of the Italian GP.
“But he’s a McLaren driver, and you have to respect the agreements that are in place.”
One of those agreements is Sergio Perez’s, who has a deal to remain at Red Bull next year – even though Marko insists it’s not a “job guarantee”.
“In ’25, we have one seat open and as you can imagine, there’s not a shortage of interest in that seat,” Horner said.
Speaking to Kleine Zeitung newspaper, Marko said Norris’ existing McLaren contract runs until 2025.
“But he is by far the strongest of the young drivers,” said the Austrian.
“His youthful nature would also suit him to Red Bull. We were close to signing him to Alpha Tauri, but that was a few years ago,” Marko revealed.
“At that time it also failed because of ongoing contracts.”
When asked if Red Bull might be willing to buy Norris out of his McLaren deal, Marko answered emphatically: “No, that is completely out of the question.
“Sergio Perez is currently fixed.”
“I think I can happily say Max is probably one of the best drivers ever in the history of Formula 1. I never raced against him until I was in Formula 1, but I was always in the category below. In karting I already knew him reasonably well.
“Back in 2012-2013 was the first time I got to meet him and get to know him, so I’ve been able to witness what he’s doing, and I think it’s not just that he’s in a good car and he’s able to perform. I think no matter what car he’s in, he’ll be able to perform at a similar level.
“It’d be great to work alongside someone like that and, at the same time, see where I can really stand against him. I’d be open to it. I invited him to McLaren the other day. So, if he wants to come any time, he’s very welcome.”
Asked by Motorsport-Total.com if McLaren would reject any offer to release Norris, Brown said: “Correct. Lando will be racing at McLaren through 2025. For sure.“
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner did not deny interest in Norris’ services when asked at Monza about the Briton.
“Lando is a great driver, there’s no doubt about that, and you can see his potential is growing,” explained Horner. “But he’s a McLaren driver, and you have to respect the agreements that are in place.
“He’s doing a great job in the sport and of course we have our drivers confirmed for ’24. In ’25 we have one seat open and, as you can imagine, there’s not a shortage of interest in that seat. But it’s a long way away at the moment.”