Feb.16 (GMM) Lando Norris is glad he will have a teammate who “pushes” him in 2023.
As his Formula 1 career started, the now 23-year-old was paired with Carlos Sainz who subsequently was promoted to Ferrari.
McLaren replaced Sainz with experienced race winner Daniel Ricciardo, but the 33-year-old notably struggled and was ultimately ousted after two years.
Norris will now be paired with another Australian – rookie Oscar Piastri. And with the 21-year-old’s stellar junior career, and the McLaren-Alpine scuffle for his 2023 services, Piastri is tipped to challenge Norris.
Briton Norris says he would be happy about that.
“As a team we need a driver who pushes me a bit more,” he said. “That’s what we lacked last season.
“Hopefully that’s something that Oscar can bring to the table this season, to push me, to get more out of myself.”
However, Piastri didn’t race at all last year as he sat on the sidelines as Alpine’s reserve, so McLaren CEO Zak Brown admitted he will be patient as the young Australian gets up to speed.
“I don’t have any expectations or deadlines of what he needs to do by this or that date,” Brown insisted.
“But I do think Lando is as fast as anyone in F1. Oscar is going to have a teammate who’s one of the fastest drivers in the world.
“I fully expect Oscar to challenge in time.”
Norris doubts Piastri will take long to acclimatise to Formula 1.
“I’m sure there will be times when he performs extremely well and pushes me to the limit,” he said. “Hopefully we will take advantage of that.”
As for Piastri, he’s not worried a lasting struggle at the wheel of a McLaren could mean he follows his countryman Ricciardo out of F1.
“It’s obviously a shame that things didn’t work out for Daniel,” he said. “But I’m not concerned about that happening to me.
“Obviously as a driver you always have to adapt. I think there’s always some limitations. It’s just how you manage to drive around those,” Piastri added.