Red Bull consultant, Helmut Marko has revealed that he previously held talks with Lando Norris.
One of the sport's true rising stars, at a time many thought the Briton would be overshadowed by the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo, Norris has risen to the occasion and established himself as de facto team leader.
Norris was recruited to McLaren's Young Driver Programme in 2017 having won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award the previous year, the result of his success in winning the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Toyota Racing Series.
The following year he made his F1 debut, driving the McLaren in the Friday morning session at Spa Francorchamps and six further events. In 2019 he stepped up to the race team as teammate to Carlos Sainz.
Speaking to Austria's OE24, Helmut Marko has revealed that Norris caught his eye early on in his career.
"We had talks with him, but he's tied to McLaren for the long-term," said the Austrian. "We stay true to our way.
"Norris has caught my eye before," he added. "But Max is still at the top of my ranking because he can deliver immediately under all conditions and without making a mistake, which he proved again impressively in the rain in Sochi. He almost won the race, he just had to come into the pits one lap earlier.
"I am proud that we dared to bring Max into Formula 1 at 16," said Marko, the driving force behind Red Bull's legendary driver programme. "He never made me doubt that our path was the right one.
"He is always super focused and can't be deterred from his goal of winning."