Seidl: Norris can become top F1 driver, but title is ‘different story’

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl believes Lando Norris is on course to become a “top driver” in F1, but winning the world title in the future is “a different story”.

Norris enjoyed a strong start to his 2021 campaign, his third in F1, scoring top-ten finishes in all four races to date, including a podium at Imola, that have put him an impressive P4 in the drivers’ standings behind front-runners Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.

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Last month, Seidl praised his driver’s results, insisting the 21-year-old had made “the next step” as an F1 driver. But more recently, the McLaren boss was asked whether Norris had the qualities to bag a championship at some point in the future.

“I have to smile to be honest reading all these comments about future world champions, because if you read all the comments from the last 12 months, we have a lot of future world champions at the moment on the grid!” laughed Seidl.

“And I’m questioning where all these guys will drive because there can only be one champion each year.

©McLaren

“I think on Lando’s side, it is impressive to see the development he has shown in the last three years,” Seidl added.

“It’s impressive to see what he’s pulling off this year, and I think if he keeps developing like that as a driver and as a person, I think he has everything in some years which is required in order to be a top driver in Formula 1.

“I think to be a world champion is then again a different story again. That’s something that is always difficult to predict.

“You need to be in the right car at the right moment, and you need to pull it off also as a driver 23 times a year and not just [a few] times.”

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Seidl’s last observation which underscores the importance of consistency inevitably brings to mind F1’s current ruler, Sir Lewis Hamilton. And the McLaren F1 boss says there’s no better role model for Norris than the seven-time world champion.

“It’s something I admire a lot when I look at Lewis, how he manages year by year to pull it off,” commented Seidl.

“Also when having a car that is maybe not the best one, or in a difficult race, to still then be able to strike back and still score important points for the championship, that’s something which makes the difference in the end. It’s about consistency and performance.

“We have seen that through the categories, Lando is something special with all that he has done there. “So it’s simply important to not get carried away, also for himself with the results he has shown [before and] now this year, it’s simply important to keep the head down, stay focused, work hard together with the team.

“Obviously also he can only have race wins in the future if we make the steps on the team side. But I’m sure we will have a lot of fun with him in the future, and success also.”

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