Lando Norris tipped to snub Max Verstappen partnership for risky team switch

Max Verstappen wins third consecutive Formula One world championship

Former F1 team manager Peter Windsor has advised Lando Norris to consider joining Audi in 2026, despite the fact they will be newcomers on the grid. The McLaren star has been widely touted for a move to Red Bull once his current contract expires, with the team dominating the Constructors’ Championship for the last two seasons in a row.

A Red Bull switch would allow Norris to compete against close friend Max Verstappen in equal machinery. The Dutchman has effectively been unchallenged in 2023, with team-mate Sergio Perez miles off the pace in the individual standings.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has already acknowledged that Norris is the kind of driver the team would consider. But Windsor believes that Audi could be serious contenders in the race to secure the 23-year-old’s services.

The German manufacturer’s 2026 entry into F1 would come at the perfect time, with Norris’ McLaren deal poised to expire at the end of 2025.

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“I’m sure [Red Bull] would like Lando,” Windsor explained in a YouTube livestream. “He’s very good and he’s a Red Bull sort of guy and all the rest of it. To me, I’d love to see Lando in an Audi in 2026 with Theo Pourchaire in the other car.

“Lando, I can imagine wanting to leave McLaren the way it is with Oscar [Piastri], although Zak [Brown] has put a lot into him. Is he going to want him to leave?

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“To me, if I was Lando Norris now and Audi or Andreas Seidl said to me: ‘Number one driver, 2026 onwards, Audi factory team, we may not be brilliant [in] 2026, but we know what we’re doing. We’ve done a massive amount of electrification in not only World Endurance, but also rallies, and we’ve got serious people, and this is Audi.’

“Could you say no to that? To me, that’s the way. If I was Lando, I’d be pushing for that right now, and if I was Andreas I’d be looking to put Pourchaire in the other car right now.”

Audi have kept their cards close to their chest in terms of which drivers could be sought out to make their maiden F1 line-up. There are murmurs that the team will target German talent, with speculation that Mick Schumacher could one day be brought into the fold.

Windsor, however, feels that up-and-coming star Pourchaire should be in the running. The 20-year-old Frenchman is storming towards the F2 title this season after taking second place in 2022.

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