LANDO NORRIS says he would welcome Oscar Piastri to McLaren – providing the Aussie is given permission to join the team.
McLaren have terminated Daniel Ricciardo’s deal for 2023, costing them around £10million.
Lando Norris responded to Daniel Ricciardo’s axingGetty
GettyOscar Piastri is expected to replace Daniel Ricciardo[/caption]
But they are not yet assured of getting highly-rated Piastri, 21, who is at the subject of a legal tug-of-war with Alpine, where he has been part of the academy since January 2020.
F1’s Contracts’ Recognition Board will meet next week to decide if he is allowed to join McLaren and become Norris’s teammate for 2023.
When quizzed by SunSport if he was being consulted by McLaren about Ricciardo’s successor, Norris said: “In a way, yes. Some of the drivers who are on the list, they’ve said ‘what do you think of him?’
“I don’t have a final say or whether they should take him and not him. It’s more like ‘what do you know of him’.
“I watched Oscar in Formula 2. I don’t know him that well. I speak to him every now and then when we bump into each other in a paddock, but I didn’t grow up with him.
“But he is good friends with some of my friends because he was there in the Renault Academy.
“From what I’ve heard, he is a lovely guy and works hard. And from what I’ve seen, he’s very talented, extremely quick.
“Whoever it is, at the end of the day, I will welcome them to the team and I look forward to working with them. I don’t mind as long as I can get along with them.
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“But if he is a younger driver than me, it might make me feel old! So probably for the first time in my life I’d say that.
“But I don’t think it changes anything that I would say or act. I’m already trying to have as big of an impact as I can, so that isn’t going to change that much next year.”
Ricciardo has expressed his disappointment at being axed but there was no sympathy from Norris.
Despite winning last year’s Italian GP, Ricciardo’s performances have been below par and he has paid the price.
When asked if he was surprised Ricciardo was shown the door so quickly, Norris added: “It depends what so quickly is… two years is quite a bit, or whatever it has been.
“I don’t think a win can save you either. With the situation we are in this year, you need consistent points. You don’t just want to survive on one win.
“As well as he did, and he beat me fair play because I don’t have a win. A win last year doesn’t save you for this year.”
AUDI ENTER F1
AUDI have confirmed they are entering Formula One from 2026 after agreeing a deal with the Sauber team.
The German car giant announced at the Belgium GP they will become the team’s engine supplier.
Currently called Alfa Romeo, Sauber announced that their current tie-up with the Italian car brand will end in 2023, paving the way for a full Audi F1 team.
“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula One,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “It is an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator.
“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.
“It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course.”
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Audi chief executive officer Markus Duesmann added: “Racing is in the DNA of Audi. If you think about Le Mans, DTM and Formula E, we have always been very active and very successful, and we want to continue this success story in F1.”
VW-owned Porsche are also expected to join F1 in 2026 as an engine partner to Red Bull.