Lando Norris has fired back at accusations that he chose to stay at McLaren because he was 'too scared' to face Max Verstappen on level footing.
The young ace has said that it wouldn't be 'smart' to move to Red Bull at this point in his career, and has inked a McLaren deal through 2026.
Partnering Oscar Piastri for the next three seasons, Norris will have plenty on his plate to contend with as he chases not just a first Formula 1 victory, but championship too.
Red Bull have been long time admirers of the 24-year-old, but it now appears that there is no possibility of a linkup between the two in the near future.
READ MORE: Norris begs McLaren to tell him he 'sucks'
Norris: It’s not a smart move
Speaking to Sky Sports, Norris attempted to justify his thinking before he made a decision on his long-term future in the sport.
“I don’t think it’s a question of: are you scared or not scared? I don’t think I’d ever be scared of going up against anyone,” said Norris.
“But even if you enter a team, are you in a position to challenge someone straight away? And are you comfortable to do that?
“And I think it’s a ‘no’ – for any driver. It takes time to adapt and takes time to get into place. If you want to go against the best driver in the world, it’s not the best thing to do. It’s not a smart move to do."
Both Verstappen and Norris will fight on track this year as McLaren continues to ramp up its resurgence up the Formula 1 field in recent years.
While it’s optimistic to think that a title battle may be possible, the odd race victory could easily be contested for by the two young stars.
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