McLaren is heading in the 2021 season with a new engine and a new driver. After two years in yellow, Daniel Ricciardo left Renault (now Alpine) to join the Woking team and he will be pairing with Lando Norris. The 21-year-old, at his third season in F1, had no difficulty getting along on and off-track with his former teammate Carlos Sainz ever since the start of his rookie year. The two had a friendly work relationship that brought a breath of fresh air at McLaren and while many expect that it will be no different with this new pairing, David Coulthard believes it won’t be so simple.
"This is a great test for Lando,” he told SunSport.
"In Carlos he had a quick team-mate but also one that was pretty easy going and part of knowing your competitors is knowing your team-mate.”
The former F1 driver is unsure whether Norris and Ricciardo will be able to find the same balance between competitiveness and collaboration for the team. The source of his doubts lies in the fact that the Aussie is not only quick, but he also has already shown a tough racing spirit on track.
"And with Daniel, he's easy-going off track but he is pretty ruthless on track and has that racer's heart and edge, which we saw come out when he was alongside Max and Seb. It will be a difficult time for Lando.”
"But it’s also a great opportunity for him to step up and show he can get his elbows out."
For his part, Lando Norris seems quite eager to share the track with his new teammate.
"I think it will be a fierce battle between us," he shared ahead of pre-season testing.
"I’m excited for the team-mate rivalry we’ll have, which will obviously be a good one, but he’s still a guy I can learn from. That won’t change race results or how we both go racing. We are both still learning every day and improving our driving and that’s what I’m excited for."