Norris speaks about Piastri, the kid he will want to ‘destroy’

lando norris barrel

Lando Norris has said nice things about his future teammate Oscar Piastri, despite his inevitable intention to do to the young Australian what he has done to Daniel Ricciardo, namely, destroy the new kid on the Formula 1 block.

The saga and conditions of Piastri’s capture by McLaren from Alpine are well told, as was the payout to Ricciardo to make way for the highly-hyped and ultra-talented 2023 F1 rookie who will have nowhere to hide when he sets out on his journey in the top flight next year.

With Norris, an outstanding performer on the grid whose performances cost Ricciardo his F1 career, intent on humbling Piastri in the long term, had nice things to say during an interview with Motorsport Week: “I’m excited because I just get to work with a different driver.

“For me that’s something that is always a good thing. It’s something to look forward to, you get to learn from someone new. There are things that I’m still going to be able to learn from him, he’s done a good amount of days in the Alpine car.

“I guess it will be a slightly different situation but I don’t think it’s going to change that much. It’s not like everything is going to be redone and we’ll have to look at things differently,” explained 22-year-old Norris.

The reality is, although a team sport to a certain extent the drivers have one thing in mind, namely to beat one another. ‘Destroy’ is the term they use; and while social media demands the niceties of egg and spoon races, guessing games and other folly between their two drivers as if there is no hostility.

A F1 driver’s Rule #1: Your teammate is not your mate; Rule 2: Destroy your teammate

Acidente-Rosberg-e-Hamilton

History shows that often behind those smiles are scowls turned upside down because – no matter what they want you to believe – a race driver’s intent every race weekend is to annihilate the guy in the other car, as often and by as much as possible, that’s F1 drivers for you.

Something Norris did relentlessly to Ricciardo these past two seasons, barring a few occasions and the older Aussie was forced to cut his contract short to make way for his younger countryman.

In 2023, Piastri will be the Lando’s third teammate, Carlos Sainz and Daniel the other two, which also means, for the first time, Norris is the older hand in the McLaren pit garage and is relishing the status: “I feel like I’m in a good position now with how I feel like the team listen to me and understand what I want from a car and don’t want from a car and these things, and that will just continue next year.

“It’s just we won’t have the addition of Daniel and the guy who’s had the experience of working with Alpine and working with Red Bull – a championship-winning team – that’s the only bit we’ll not have. But we’ll have someone fresh and that just always reignites the whole team a bit,” ventured Norris.

Piastri will have a very good young proven driver in his one-year-older teammate as a benchmark from day one in Orange, and of course, many new circuits will be on his agenda which Norris, with three seasons under his belt knows all too well.

Norris: Piastri is a good driver

Piastri-Bahrain-2022 McLaren boost reserve driver options with Oscar Piastri

Lando continued: “I don’t know where he’s tested at when he’s done his testing, I mean he’s done quite a few, even with Formula 2 they do quite a few apart from maybe these international ones on the last stretch, apart from Abu Dhabi.

“I guess that’s a challenge, it’s the challenge every driver has in their first year. I had it in 2019 against Carlos, but he is a good driver,” added Norris of his future teammate Piastri.

Piastri, who was set for FP1 duty with Alpine at Monza after the summer break, didn’t make that appointment and, by all counts won’t be doing FP1 sessions for the Woking outfit because the French team – smarting from the surprise and audacious defection of the driver they financed and developed for F1 – is set to keep him locked into their contract until the final day of the year.

Norris on the other hand lines up for his 79th Grand Prix start on Sunday in Austin, Texas. Currently, he is a lonely seventh in the 2021 F1 drivers standings, best of the rest, but trailing sixth-placed Lewis Hamilton by 79 points.

Looking ahead to the weekend at COTA, Norris said in the team preview: “I’m buzzing to be back in Austin, it’s such a great city to race in and the fans are always brilliant so it should be an exciting weekend.

“The track is a fun one, with some cool features similar to tracks such as Suzuka so I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing how the new regulation cars run.

“I’ve had a points finish both times I’ve raced there so hopefully we can keep up the streak and get some valuable points for the Constructors’ Championship,” concluded Norris.