Lando Norris signs extension with McLaren F1 for ‘2022 and beyond’

Norris McLaren F1
Sebastien Nogier / Getty Images

Lando Norris, 21, has signed a multi-year extension with McLaren F1 that cements the team’s driver lineup for the near future. The announcement comes at the one-year anniversary of McLaren announcing a multi-year deal with Daniel Ricciardo to move from Renault.

“My commitment to McLaren is clear: my goal is to win races and become Formula 1 World Champion,” Norris said in a release.

Norris joined McLaren as one of their two fulltime drivers in 2019 and in 42 career starts with them, he has two podium finishes, both third-place finishes. Norris stood on the podium last year in the season-opening Grand Prix of Austria. He repeated the feat in the second race of this season at Imola.

The length of the extension was not announced, only that is is a multi-year agreement that includes “2022 and beyond.”

In addition to his podium at Imola, Norris has two other top-fives in four races run so far this season. He currently sits fourth in the Drivers Championship.

“I’m really pleased to have extended my relationship with McLaren from 2022,” Norris said. “Having been with the team for almost five years, I feel very much part of the family here and I couldn’t imagine starting the next phase of my career anywhere else. … Since joining in 2017 our progression has been consistent and we have clear ambitions together for the future.”

Norris was the test and simulator driver for McLaren in 2017 before becoming their reserve driver in 2018.

The announcement comes ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, which was not run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Norris finished on the lead lap in 11th in that race in 2019.

Norris finished ninth in the championship hunt last year with six top-fives in 17 races. He ended on a high note with two of those strong runs coming in the final three races.

McLaren finished third in the Constructors Championship last year with 202 points and a seven-point margin over fourth-place Racing Point.

“I’m delighted with the extension of our agreement with Lando for 2022 and beyond,” Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing said. “He’s been instrumental in our return of form here at McLaren and we’re proud of the growth he’s shown since he first started with us back in 2017. Lando is one of the brightest talents on the Formula 1 grid and we look forward to seeing him continue to go from strength-to-strength both on and off track.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”