Ex-drivers say Norris ‘not ready’ to win F1 title

Jul.9 (GMM) Despite now having arguably the best car in Formula 1, Lando Norris has some way to go before he is ready to fight for a world championship.

That’s the view of two former F1 drivers, following Norris’ extreme disappointment about finishing just third between multiple world champions Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at his home British GP on Sunday.

Even Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko had to admit after the chequered flag that Hamilton fully deserved to win after a three-year drought, explaining: “You could see his strength in terms of tyre management that shows how much experience and speed he still has.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff appreciated the compliment.

“It’s always nice when you get feedback from someone who knows what they’re doing,” he told Kronen Zeitung newspaper when told about Marko’s praise. “And Helmut knows what he’s doing.

“The great rivalry fades into the background when we are two Austrians who stick together when the going gets tough.”

As for Norris, 24, he could not hide his disgust immediately after the Silverstone race, as he pointed his finger at McLaren for “not doing quite the job we should have” with key strategic choices.

But when asked if he is personally “ready” to consistently beat the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen, Norris also admitted: “I don’t know. I mean, I’m not making the right decisions, you know.

“I blame myself for not making some of the right decisions. I hate it,” he added. “I hate ending in this position and forever having excuses for not doing a good enough job.”

Former F1 driver Christijan Albers said the decisive involvement in key strategic choices demonstrated by Verstappen and Hamilton on Sunday is “the key difference with a Lewis or a Max”.

“They just decide,” he told De Telegraaf. “Norris is a mega-talent, that’s beyond dispute, and we don’t have to discuss that. But he just doesn’t have the same level of thinking and feeling as Lewis and Max.

“He’s definitely not at that level yet. He always makes a lot of mistakes,” Albers added. “Max and Lewis’ laptimes were also fluctuating by a tenth or so, but with Norris, it was different. He wasn’t consistent.”

Another ex-F1 driver, Ralf Schumacher, thinks that as McLaren returns to top-team status after a fallow period, the Woking based team is also demonstrating its immaturity.

“It’s a question of mutual assistance between driver and team,” he told motorsport-total.com, referring to McLaren’s botched strategic decisions on Sunday.

“The driver and the team have to exchange information. How well did that happen in this case? I don’t think Lando Norris is ready for such a fight yet,” Schumacher added, despite Norris shaping up as Verstappen’s closest contender for the 2024 title.

“It could also be a structural problem,” the 6-time grand prix winner continued. “Perhaps Norris simply does not have a strong enough race engineer.

“He is also still very young. We saw how angry he was with himself, with the bad decisions he made – and that he wants to continue to grow. And yes, these moments are part of the growth process,” Schumacher concluded.

Italian journalist Mario Donnini, however, has a much harsher assessment.

“Same old story,” he wrote in Autosprint. “Nice guys never win.

“Since Miami, Lando Norris has had the best car of the lot, and yet in seven races in which he was playing with the best hand of cards, he has won only once.

“He is the least successful and effective top driver in the recent history of the sport,” Donnini added. “In F1, as soon as you have the best single-seater, you have to pulverise everyone – otherwise you’re done for.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *