Norris opens up on mental health struggles during debut F1 season

Lando Norris has opened up on live television to the scale of the mental health difficulties he faced when he first arrived in Formula 1, admitting he was often depressed.

Norris opens up on mental health struggles during debut F1 season

The McLaren driver, who came close to winning the recent Russian Grand Prix, says that the jovial image that he has carried with him throughout his career does not tell the true story of feelings he had a few years ago.

He added that he carried doubts that he was good enough for F1 during his rookie campaign, and explains that this had a big impact on him.

Speaking live on ITV show This Morning, Norris explained how the reality of what drivers go through behind the scenes can be a world away from what fans think they experience.

“I guess people, from when they just watch TV, don't realise many things that a driver goes through,” he said.

“And it's a bit of shame, but there are more programmes now where you get to see what the driver is like behind the scenes, and the amount of pressure and stress that they have to cope with.

“Especially at my age, coming into Formula 1 at 19, there's a lot of eyes on you. So, dealing with all these kinds of things, took its toll on me.”

Norris said that the immense pressure to perform to ensure that he didn’t blow his first opportunity in F1 was hard to battle with.

“[It was] feeling like I don't know what's next?” he said. “If this goes wrong, if I don't go out in the next session and perform, what's going to happen?

“What's the outcome of all of this? Am I going to be in Formula 1 next year, if I'm not? What am I going to do because I'm not really good at many other things in life?

“So, just all of that, and then just feeling depressed a lot of the time that if I have a bad weekend, I just think I'm not good enough and things like that.

 

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“When they start adding up over the season, and then the social media side of it all, that can just really start to hurt you.”

Norris says that a combination of support from his McLaren team, plus working with mental health charity Mind, has helped him get in to a much better place now.

“We partner with Mind, which have helped me massively, and also helped many other people in McLaren, but also just in the world in general,” he said.

“So speaking to McLaren, speaking to the people that are around me and my friends that I trust, and, also Mind, I'm in a much better place now. I’m much happier and I can enjoy everything I do.”

Norris is heading to this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix off the back of McLaren’s win in Monza and his pole in Russia.

However, he says that the team is keeping expectations in check as it is well aware it still does not have a car that can match pace setters Mercedes and Red Bull at all tracks.

“There's obviously a lot of expectation on us at the moment because of Monza, where we had a 1-2, and last weekend I had pole position and almost won the race.

“So a lot of people are expecting amazing things. But we have to limit them in a way because we're still realistically not as quick as Mercedes and Red Bull, which are the leading two teams at the moment.

"We still have a lot of work to do but every race is an opportunity.”

shares
comments

Related video

Schumacher: Haas doesn’t need experienced reserve driver
Previous article

Schumacher: Haas doesn’t need experienced reserve driver

Next article

Allison on board as Mercedes F1 hoists push on America’s Cup

Allison on board as Mercedes F1 hoists push on America’s Cup
Load comments
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021