British teenager Lando Norris has been rewarded for the fine start to his Formula One career with a long-term McLaren deal.
McLaren have activated a clause in Norris’ rookie contract which is understood to see the 19-year-old remain with them for at least a further three years.
It is believed Norris will not get a pay hike on his current wage, worth up to £400,000-a-season, for next year.
“It’s good to see McLaren have faith in me, and back up what they’ve said in that I have been doing a good job so far,” Norris told PA.
“I wasn’t pushing for it. I wasn’t saying I want the deal done by Silverstone. It was out of the blue last week. It doesn’t change too much because I wasn’t thinking about it, or worried about it, but it gives me a bit more confidence.
“As for the dollar, the kerching, I can’t even remember what I have got in my contract. It is not something I am worried about. It is under control.”
McLaren made the announcement on the eve of Norris’ home race at Silverstone on Sunday following their driver’s impressive displays, and to deter interest from rival teams.
Indeed, Britain’s youngest F1 driver ever has not been fazed by the grand prix circus. He has finished in the points in four of his opening nine races, and heads to the British Grand Prix following a career-best sixth in Austria last time out.
The Somerset teenager, who admits to still taking his clothes home to be washed by his mother, Cisca, has been a match for his more experienced team-mate, too – the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who has 90 races under his belt.
Norris added: “I don’t want to sound arrogant and say my results speak for themselves, but for what McLaren say – and that’s the best way for me to know what I am doing given the people they have seen come and go over the years – they feel I am doing a good job.
“The only thing that kind of annoys me, is that I walked into my local shop recently, and finally the guy figured out who I was. But that was mainly because I parked my McLaren road car outside.
“I like how it is at the moment, or how it has been. I don’t want it to change. I don’t want people to be friendly to me because of what I do rather than who I am.”
Norris has recorded the best results by a British debutant since Lewis Hamilton starred for McLaren a dozen years ago.
Hamilton, whose latest deal is worth £40million-a-year, challenged for the championship in his remarkable rookie campaign.
Although McLaren are enjoying a resurgence this season after years of turmoil, they remain some way off the sport’s big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Lando is in a good place, so as he gets more successful, and we get more successful, we all win together,” said McLaren’s chief executive Zak Brown.
“Given how well Lando and Carlos are doing, it was in our best interest that as silly season ramps up, we have our head down, we know what we’re doing next year, and this announcement is to end speculation or potential activity.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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