Motor racing-Norris signs multi-year extension with McLaren

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 8, 2021 McLaren's Lando Norris in action during qualifying REUTERS/Nacho Doce

(Reuters) -Britain's Lando Norris will partner Australian Daniel Ricciardo for a few more years at McLaren after the Formula One team announced a contract extension on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Briton has moved up a gear in his third season with the former champions and is fourth overall ahead of this weekend's showcase Monaco Grand Prix, round five of the championship.

Ricciardo, a seven-times race winner with Red Bull, joined McLaren this year from Renault (now Alpine) on a three-year deal.

McLaren said the renewal with Norris, whose contract was up at the end of the season, cemented the lineup "for the coming years".

Team principal Andreas Seidl described the decision as "very straightforward".

"Lando has impressed us since his rookie year with his performances, and his evolution as a driver since then has been clear to see," said the German.

"He's an integral part of our performance recovery plan and his record so far, securing two podiums with the team over the past year, has shown he’s a formidable competitor on track.

"In Lando and Daniel we have a hugely talented and exciting driver line-up, and this announcement is a strong signal of commitment to the next chapter for McLaren from 2022 onwards."

Norris has scored points in every race this year, finishing third at Imola in April, with McLaren third in the constructors' standings.

The Briton, who graduated from a reserve role after finishing runner-up in the 2018 F2 championship, told reporters he had not considered any other options.

"I think it was in both of our interests to feel it done and out of the way nice and early in the season so we can focus on the job we need to do," he said.

"Something that I want more than anything is to enjoy where I'm working, who I'm working with. That was like my number one priority," he added, saying the steady improvement in performance was the other key factor.

"There was no interest from my side to have talks with other teams," he added.

"My goal is to win races and become Formula One World Champion and I want to do that with this team."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)

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