Lando Norris looking forward to 'different responsibility' as McLaren's senior driver
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Formula One star Lando Norris is still waiting on his maiden race win as he looks to lead McLaren back to the title-winning days of old. Specifically, the 23-year-old has Lewis Hamilton as inspiration for what the Woking-based outfit is capable of when car, driver and team work to their fullest potential.
As one of the most decorated teams on the grid and a mainstay of elite motorsport, McLaren have produced a multitude of F1 world champions down the years. That success has led to 12 world titles in total, won by Hall of Fame names like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Mika Hakkinen and Emerson Fittipaldi.
However, the most recent driver to claim the crown on McLaren’s behalf was Hamilton, who fought the odds to win the 2008 title by a single point on the last corner of the campaign. Still an up-and-comer and in only his second season as an F1 driver, Hamilton’s triumph ended McLaren’s nine-year wait to top the standings and cemented his place in the history books as the youngest driver to win a championship at the time.
McLaren look a lot different today – both in results and their traditional race day colours – but that silver specimen from 2008 will hold a special place in the mind of most fans. And Norris is no different, it seems, after revealing he’s asked chief executive officer Zak Brown if that title-winning livery can be revived in the present day.
“This is what got me into Formula One,” the prospect told GQ’s Adam Baidawi during a tour of McLaren’s Woking headquarters earlier this year. “Started actually supporting McLaren just ’cause they looked cool.”
When prompted by Baidawi that the silver number is “a Hall of Fame livery” Norris unveiled his long-running request, which has so far fallen on deaf ears. “I’ve asked Zak many times to go back to this,” said the Bristol native.
McLaren could use any edge they can find to improve results at the moment, given Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri currently sit joint-last in this season’s standings. Norris has finished 17th in back-to-back races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while Piastri crossed the line in 15th at Jeddah, having been forced to retire in his Sakhir debut.
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The British manufacturer made the decision to change to orange in 2017, re-adopting its original colours after 46 years. It was reported at the time the move was also inspired by a desire to ‘stand out from the pack’, though one could suggest the opposite has in fact been truer of late.
Given the engineering superiority of teams like Red Bull and Aston Martin at present, it would take more than a new lick of paint to catch McLaren up in the current power struggle. That’s unlikely to satisfy Norris, however, as he pushes to recapture the look that last led the team to the top of F1’s pyramid.
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