Norris proud mental health honesty is helping others

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The McLaren driver, who scored his first F1 pole in 2021 and took four podium finishes, has made no secret of the fact that he struggled at times with the pressures that come with being a grand prix driver.

In particular he said the stress caused in his early races during his 2019 rookie season, where he worried that he risked losing his seat if he didn’t perform, was something that he found difficult to cope with at the time.

But having sought help for the issues he faced, Norris has put himself in a much better place and established himself as a team leader alongside more experienced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

PLUS: How Norris became more than just McLaren’s leader in F1 2021

Norris reckons that by being honest about what he was going through, it has delivered benefits for both himself and also for others.

“I am very happy to see more people speaking out about it and realising it is only going to benefit them and benefit others,” he said.

“I don’t think there is any negative from doing so. I think it is only going to help you in getting better, and certainly it is going to help if you have a big following or a lot of people watching you when you say it. You are only going to help people who are also struggling.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M Mule

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M Mule

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Norris says that he has had direct feedback from his fans about the positives that his attitude has had.

“I am very happy and proud to be a part of that group of people who have accepted it and are happy and confident to speak out about it,” he said.

“One of the biggest things that made me think it was good to speak out about it is my fans, my followers, and especially when I would hint at it the first few times.

Insight: How Formula 1 teams look after their mental health

“Before I was even speaking about it publicly, a few of them were saying how much it is helping them and the impact that I can have on them. Then over time realising that the impact I can have on the hundreds or thousands of people is huge.

“When I start to get messages of me helping them out, to make them feel much better or their friends or family, that is a pretty amazing thing to see.

“So the more I saw that, the more I realised the impact that I can have and the place that I am in with Formula 1 in my life, with the followers that I have and the fanbase that I have, means the bigger the impact. 

“Therefore I thought it was better to speak about it more publicly and worldwide to try to help as many people as possible.”

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