Brown dismisses talk of Norris 'get out' clause


Zak Brown has dismissed claims that a 'get out' clause in his contract would allow Lando Norris to leave McLaren should the team fail to improve.

Currently tenth in the standings, one can understand that Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri might be feeling a little concerned.

In the Briton's case this is particularly understandable since he is now in his fifth season with the Woking outfit and a contract runs until the end of 2025.

As a result there has been media speculation linking Norris with several teams should he exercise a clause in his contract that would release him should McLaren fail to significantly improve. A clause that Zak Brown insists doesn't exist.

"He has zero exit clauses," The American told Sky Sports. "Ultimately, when his contract is next up, if we are not performing and he doesn't feel he can win races and can compete for the championship, then I think anybody, driver or team member for that matter (would consider leaving), we are all here to win.

"He has got a contract with us," he insisted, "and, most importantly, he is very happy here and he sees the progress that we are making, and he is a team player.

So, even contracts aside, it is about that he is in a happy environment, he is along for the journey, and we have got some time to prove to him that we are going to give him a car capable of winning.

"Right now it is pretty easy but if we are sitting here in two years' time and his contract is nearing the end, then it is a different situation if we are not performing and I would understand him going 'I need to get into a winning race car'.

"But, right now, I think we are all focused on working together to get that car so I think it is too early to be worried about anything other than having a good weekend."

In an effort to turn things around McLaren has announced a reorganisation of its technical management, including the firing of James Key and the recruitment of David Sanchez from Ferrari.

Brown believes that various factors have compromised the team this year, not least the departure of Andreas Seidl.

"The progression of our race car and our performance, we had a team principal change, and then as soon as Andrea (Stella) started, who is very technical, the first thing I asked him to do was review where we were and why we weren't performing at a higher level," said Brown.

"He set about doing a lot of consulting and fortunately he had been with the team for some time and ultimately he decided we needed a new model and so we went forward with putting that in place. We announced it last week, but these things are always a little bit in the works.

"He has got a lot of great qualities," he said of Stella. "One, he already knows what winning looks like. He has got a rich history with some of the best racing drivers in the world.

"He is very much a people culture driven individual so he really knows how to rally a team and we are a big team of people and he is very technical.

"So, I thought he had the best combination of technically understanding what changes we needed to make and how to bring a high performance team together. We are at the start of that journey of Andrea's vision which I fully support and there is a lot of excitement inside the racing team."

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Published: 31/03/2023
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