Lando Norris Is All Of Us If We Had Free Rein Of A F1 Team Factory

Illustration for article titled Lando Norris Is All Of Us If We Had Free Rein Of A F1 Team Factory
Photo: Charles Coates (Getty)

There are undoubtedly a lot of perks to being a Formula One driver, but I think my personal favorite has to be that they seem to just get free rein of manufacturer factories. If I had a chance to, say, wander around the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, I don’t think they’d ever be able to drag me out of it. And in that sense, I am just like McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris.

Norris might just be one of the most personable drivers on an F1 grid for quite a while. The sport has gotten pretty sanitized, full of PR-friendly answers to interview questions and a tight grip on anything fun. But Norris is out here battling with fellow F1 driver Max Verstappen on iRacing Twitch streams, chirping other drivers, revamping beloved memes, showing up to MotoGP as Valentino Rossi’s biggest fan, and, uh, not pooping his own pants.

But I think the best thing has been watching Norris stream his explorations of the McLaren Technology Centre. You know what I would do if I was faced with the McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail? I would get behind the wheel and start pushing buttons and flipping switches, just for the hell of it.

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And that is exactly what Norris does:

You can check out more of his videos on Norris’s Twitch channel. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes stuff at the McLaren shop, along with iRacing streams and the occasional “stuck in a traffic jam” broadcast.

I hesitate to call Norris “relatable” because it’s kind of impossible to relate to anyone who makes millions of dollars to travel around the world driving cars, but I gotta say—this is about as close to “relatable” as we’re going to get.

And it is pretty great. When’s the last time a race car driver gave fans an impromptu tour of a manufacturing facility? If we get one of these tours, it’s probably a well-coordinated and carefully designed effort by the team itself that only shows off the shiny exterior. With Norris, we get to see all the good stuff: the inside of classic cars, pre-event snacks, and more.

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Honestly, this is a damn good time to be an F1 fan.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

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Gurney for President

I think the youngest, newest generation of racing driver is turning the tide. It’s cliche at this point to say “the sport is sanitized and full of PR-friendly answers and no fun.”

Everyone’s been saying that for years, but there’s already Daniel Ricciardo, who isn’t afraid to swear on live TV or drop rando jokes, etc and George Russell is doing playful Instagram captions. If you look at other series, I think Alex Rossi is a pretty fun follow and Jordan Taylor is another good one in IMSA.

I think that the sanitized motor racing driver is going to disappear soon enough as these guys try to develop more sponsors and revenue streams through their social streams. And teams are going to realize it’s in their best interest to let them too (except for the front runners/old guard because even Red Bull was more fun before they started winning).