Lando Norris wants to be remembered for more than being ‘another driver on the grid’ ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 season.
The 20-year-old rising star caught the eye in the vibrant orange of McLaren during his debut season in 2019, and has learned a lot since the first lights out in Australia last year.
British star Norris spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com at the premiere of Netflix documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 2 with his reflections from last season, his most – and least – favourite circuits and the high and lows of life as an F1 star on the agenda.
He said: “One of my biggest things is that I want to be remembered – after I hopefully have a long career – not just for being another driver in Formula 1.
“I don’t think anyone is just one boring driver, but being remembered in a better way, for more than just getting to Formula 1 and I got these results and so on.
“I wouldn’t say as an entertainer, I’m not an entertainer but just being remembered for being more than another driver on the grid.
“For being more fun and open, and allowing the fans to see a better side of me.
Norris added that while the World Driver’s Championship is the pinnacle achievement of the sport, he would be immensely satisfied if he could lead McLaren to glory in the Constructor’s Championship.
He said: “It’s not a ‘you’ thing, it’s a constructor and a team thing.
“I think that’s almost just as special because you know everyone who works on the team at McLaren and just seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces is a nice thing to see.”
The Bristol-born star’s mission is to steer McLaren back among the elite F1 teams, and showed plenty of promise during his debut season in 2019.
He was unfazed by the step-up to becoming a regular starting driver, and clearly relishes the opportunity to live out his dream.
“There’s so many good things,” laughs Norris as he tries to pin down just a handful of them.
“The best thing is that we enjoy it. There are a lot of people who have jobs they don’t enjoy, or don’t get to enjoy what they do.
“But there are lots of people who love doing what they do and everyone who is part of Formula 1 is part of that group.
“It’s exciting, there are always unknowns and unexpected things – it’s constantly changing.
“The unknown is one of the best things, there’s always something to improve and do better and we have over 1,000 people at McLaren trying to make the car better and everything run better.”
But as with all jobs, it’s not always plain sailing – or flying.
When quizzed about the worst aspects of his new life, he replied: “It’s the simple one of being away from home so much, travelling all the time.
“Sometimes that’s not bad, sometimes it’s cool to travel, but when you get to the end of the year, the hours and days spent in a plane racks up quite a bit.
“It’s not like we just turn up there magically, especially the flyaways, we normally arrive three or four days prior to the first day to acclimatise to the time difference and weather and everything.
“Being away from home and being away from your family is probably the most annoying thing.”
It’s not even all good news once you’re sitting in the cockpit raring to race in a far off land.
Drivers usually have their own preferences when it comes to circuits, and Norris is emphatic about the track he least enjoys.
“Russia. It’s the flattest circuit you’ll ever see in your life and it’s just quite samey. 90 left, 90 right, 90 left, 90 right.
“There are ones I like more than others: Singapore, Monaco, Spa, Suzuka. They are more fun and technical, up-and-down, tight-and-twisty and whatever.
“Baku is really fun. There’s more character to it, there’s something about it which makes it more special.
“You get some track which are just a layout on the circuit but it’s flat, there’s not much excitement from driving a Formula 1 car around it.”
Norris will be hoping to make the most of his second year in the hot-seat as McLaren battle to crack the dominant three and return to the top of their game.
And he will be loving (almost) every minute of it.
Watch Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 2 from Friday 28th February on Netflix