Lando Norris has said he is still recovering from the shock of being mugged after the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. The McLaren driver is preparing for Sunday’s British Grand Prix, which he hopes will focus his attention away from the incident last Sunday.
Norris had attended last Sunday’s match and was returning to his McLaren sports car outside the stadium when he was mugged. The assailants took his watch, reportedly worth £40,000.
His team said their driver was unharmed but understandably shaken. The police have told Norris he could not talk about the details while it was under investigation but at Silverstone on Thursday the 21-year-old explained how the episode had affected him.
“The difficult thing is the shock of realising it can happen to anyone including yourself when you never think it will happen to you, or it’s a very slim chance,” he said. “The shock that you can still be vulnerable in any position, it’s a scary thing and I don’t wish it on anyone.”
Norris is enjoying the best season of his career in his third year with McLaren. He is fourth in the world championship, has taken three podiums and is the only driver to have scored points in every race.
He comes into Silverstone on the back of a hugely impressive drive at the last round in Austria, where he finished third the weekend before the mugging took place, from which he is still feeling the effects. “I have not been sleeping that great and I am feeling a bit sore,” he said, suggesting some physicality was involved.
He was hoping for another strong performance at Silverstone but was also anticipating enjoying returning to the track to move on. “To focus on something else and stop thinking about it because I am an over-thinker.
“You can think the best but I tend to always think the worst. Things like that are not nice, so to get my mind off it, focus on having a good weekend, seeing all the fans again is something I definitely look forward to.”
Norris said he drove home after the incident and continued his normal pre-race preparations with McLaren at their headquarters in Woking. “I stayed at home enjoying the peace and quiet, doing normal things again,” he said. “Returning to normality is a nice thing. Trying to come here and focus on the job I have this weekend, just thinking about racing and driving is what makes me smile.”
McLaren’s chief executive, Zak Brown, and two other personnel were tested positive for Covid on Thursday and have gone into isolation. The team say the three cases were not connected and would not affect their ability to compete at Silverstone.
The meeting will host the first sprint qualifying race. Taking place on Saturday, the 17-lap race will decide the grid for the following day’s grand prix.
Qualifying for the sprint race will be held on Friday evening as F1 tests the new structure with a view to adopting it more often in future. Formula One also unveiled their vision of how the car designed under the new regulations for 2022 would look.
It is hoped to allow the cars to follow one another more closely to promote closer racing and more passing. It features a ground-effect floor and vastly simplified front and rear wings in an attempt to maintain downforce while minimising the dirty air wash that makes following so difficult. The tyres will also be lower profile and increased in size to 18 inches.
“We want the best drivers to win but we want much closer competition,” said F1’s sporting director, Ross Brawn. “We want them battling wheel-to-wheel.”