McLaren preserve Norris-Piastri partnership until at least 2026

Jaden Diaz
28 Jan, 2024

McLaren is ensuring all areas of their team are optimised, starting with their drivers. Andrea Stella’s personnel have the luxury of a driver pairing that most outfits on the grid would be envious of.

Most teams aspire for some balance between speed, experience and youth in their drivers. After all, these elements often constitute a pairing with both short-term and long-term aspirations.

However, until recently, it was rare to see drivers continue at one team for too long. Especially in the midfield, most contracts would be no longer than two seasons – with many on the grid jumping from team to team.

Only Championship-winning outfits saw such continuity with their combinations. Mercedes was the most obvious example of this, with the Hamilton-Bottas driver lineup persisting for half a decade.

Although this duo eventually ran its course, with Bottas being replaced by George Russell, it is evidence of the importance of stability.

In recent years, there have been more teams working to secure a long-term vision with their drivers. Perhaps none more so than McLaren, whose current lineup are both on multi-year contracts.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60.
04.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sprint Day.
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McLaren F1 secure their vision for the future

After replacing Daniel Ricciardo with Oscar Piastri, the British outfit received plenty of scrutiny. The Australian driver was originally seen as a central piece of their aspirations to fight at the front – but his form instead took a nosedive.

Few could dispute, however, the success of Piastri’s rookie season. The 22-year-old already boasts a combination of speed and maturity – something rare for someone with such limited experience.

Alongside the equally young but far from inexperienced Lando Norris, McLaren can rely on two highly capable drivers.

Provided that Andrea Stella’s technical team produces a front-running car, their line-up will surely exploit it. The only problem that might present itself for Team Papaya is often defined as a “good problem.”

This ‘problem’ is the headache of two drivers who will inevitably compete for the same piece of track. Last year in Monza and Qatar, there were small glimpses into what this could entail.

For a team not renowned for driver management in the past, this area will be key to observe.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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