Lando Norris says he has always helped strip and clean his machinery where possible since his karting days, after being photographed working on his Formula 1 car after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
An image widely shared on social media by one of the McLaren communications staff showed Norris sat beneath his car on Sunday night helping to strip it down ahead of its return to the United Kingdom. The 20-year-old says it is something he has done throughout his racing career rather than just at the end of a tripleheader that ended at the Hungaroring, and hadn’t felt the need to make public.
“It’s something I’ve done quite a few times before, it’s just never gone on social media; it’s not something that I feel I need to put on social media,” Norris said. “It’s something I did already in 2018 (with McLaren); it’s something I’ve done since karting, really. I used to do it with my engineer in karting.
“We always used to have to clean all the kart after races, and the chain guard, and the airbox — the majority of things. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I loved doing that stuff as a kid, taking things apart and so on. I’ve done that all the way through, in some ways, from karting through to F1.
“In F1, it’s a bit different — it’s something I’ve done since 2018, when I was doing some of the FP1s — in America, Japan, Mexico, Abu Dhabi I think, too, in 2018 and in 2019 — I did it sometimes. I haven’t done it every time… but it’s more often when my flights are on a Monday. A lot of the time, flights are on Sunday evening, so you have your debriefs and then you’re on the way home, whereas the times when it’s on a Monday, I get the opportunity to stay with the mechanics and go and help them out.
“There’s two reasons. One is because I enjoy it — it’s quite cool. Who wouldn’t want to take apart a Formula 1 car and explore it a bit and work with mechanics? It’s just good fun. You learn something new about it, and it’s just a bit more hands on. And two, it’s good for the team, it’s good for myself and my mechanics that we’re working together. I’m helping them, makes their job much easier, they’ve just done a whole race weekend, they’ve done three weeks in a row, I thought I could just help and make their lives a bit easier.
“It’s not something I chose to do just because we did three weeks in a row, it’s more the fact of just helping them anyway, me enjoying it, getting to spend some time — we have some good laughs, we have some jokes, and I enjoy spending time and working with the mechanics and the engineers, as Will (Joseph) my engineer does it too.
“It’s something I’ve done since I’ve joined McLaren, in trying to get myself more integrated with the team — work with the mechanics, get to know each other better — and I think it’s a crucial part of improving our atmosphere as a team and then because I enjoy it. The only other thing I’d be doing is going back, lying on my bed and watching Netflix. And I prefer to take apart a Formula 1 car than to do that.”
When Norris’ car is rebuilt for the British Grand Prix he is likely to be driving with an additional sponsor next weekend at Silverstone, with McLaren believed to have agreed a deal with Gulf.