Nico Rosberg, the 2016 World Champion, has teased that Lando Norris is set to leave McLaren for the F1 2024 season as rumours persist about a potential switch to Red Bull.
Sergio Perez’s struggles alongside Max Verstappen in 2023 have led to intense speculation that Red Bull may look elsewhere for next season, with Norris widely tipped as the Mexican’s likely replacement.
Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Norris strongly indicated that he would welcome the chance to become Verstappen’s team-mate.
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Nico Rosberg hints at imminent Lando Norris switch
“It’s definitely something I would be open to in the future,” Norris told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher, adding: “I think it’d be great to work alongside someone like that and, at the same time, see where I can really stand against him. I’d be open for it.”
Appearing on Sky F1’s coverage of the final practice session at Monza, Rosberg commented that a move could be imminent.
He said: “Where’s he going? Next year already, I hear there’s a switch coming.”
Perez was seen as a potential title contender after winning two of the opening four rounds of the season in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, but has seen his campaign implode in the months since.
Despite driving the dominant RB19 car, winner of every race this year, the Mexican failed to reach Q3 for five consecutive rounds between the end of May and mid-July, but seemed to steady the ship with consecutive podiums in Hungary and Belgium prior to F1’s summer break.
However, Perez endured a disastrous weekend at the recent Dutch GP as he qualified six positions and 1.3 seconds behind Verstappen at Zandvoort before crashing in changeable conditions in the race.
Despite holding a contract until the end of next season, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko were split on Perez’s job security for 2024 at Zandvoort.
While Horner insisted Perez will remain Verstappen’s team-mate next year, Marko indicated Red Bull’s driver line-up is yet to be finalised with the reigning Constructors’ Champions yet to “discuss how to proceed.”
Norris has emerged as one of the brightest talents on the grid since graduating to F1 in 2019, recording eight podium finishes and a single pole position at the 2021 Russian GP.
After a muted start to 2023 for McLaren, Norris has emerged as Red Bull’s greatest threat in recent weeks, finishing second to Verstappen in consecutive races in Britain and Hungary.
Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of the 2025 season, having signed an extension to his deal in February last year.
Sat alongside Norris on Thursday at Monza, Verstappen commented that the British driver’s decision to commit himself to McLaren for the long term “was probably not a smart thing to do.”
He added: “We have a good relationship and we get on very well.
“I know he’s one of the best drivers out there at the moment and, for sure, it would be very interesting to team up with each other. But at the moment, of course, that’s not possible.”
Read next: Exclusive: Jacques Villeneuve weighs in on Lewis Hamilton’s F1 contract extension
The article Nico Rosberg teases Lando Norris McLaren exit for F1 2024 as Red Bull rumours swirl appeared first on Planetf1.com.