Ahead of the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, we caught up with Lando Norris at the LEGO® Technic McLaren Formula 1™ pop-up launch event. The 22-year-old of Belgian descent is the youngest ever British Formula 1 Driver, and will be competing in the race with McLaren.
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Located along Orchard Road in front of Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, the pop-up plays host to a life-size LEGO replica of the McLaren Formula 1 race car. Designed in collaboration with experts from the LEGO Group and McLaren—including Ryan McNaught, the only LEGO-certified professional in the southern hemisphere—the replica took 288,315 LEGO bricks and 1,893 hours to assemble.
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Spanning 5.7 metres in length and 2.4 metres in width, it features a removable halo and steering wheel. From now until 2 October 2022, visitors will be able to sit in the replica, take photos and stand a chance to win an exclusively signed set of the 42141 LEGO® TechnicTM McLaren Formula 1TM Race Car (worth SGD299.90) with any purchase from the pop-up store from 11am to 9.30pm.
In an interview with BAZAAR, Norris shares his love for LEGO, aspirations with McLaren, his favourite Singaporean dish and more.
What do you love most about the LEGO® Technic McLaren Formula 1™?
Where do I start? I think the whole thing is very impressive, and have thought so since I saw it for the first time earlier this year. But what I’m most excited about is the steering wheel—to see all the buttons, bits that can be turned as well as the gear shifts.
When did you realise that being a Formula 1 driver was your calling in life?
I mean, it’s the only thing I’m good at. I was lucky that I found racing. If I didn’t find racing, I don’t know what I’ll be doing but it probably won’t be very successful. I’ve always been into racing since I was very young—about three or four years old. It actually started off with motorbikes. I really enjoyed motocross as well. This is something that I enjoy so much, and I think that’s one of the most important things. So for me, that was very clear. Even in 20 years, I’ll still love what I’m doing. Every weekend, I want to go out and drive.
It’s no easy feat being a Formula 1 driver. What has that experience taught you?
I’ve learned that it takes a lot of time and dedication if you want to be one of the best—affinity and talent can only take you so far. There’s a lot of people putting in a lot of time and effort in this, and you have to put even more time and effort into training if you want to be the best.
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Tell us something that most people don’t realise happens during a Formula 1 race.
I don’t know if many people know this—or maybe they do—but especially here in Singapore, we lose a lot of weight during the race. At some races, we won’t lose much because we don’t sweat a lot. In Singapore, however, we’ll definitely sweat a lot. We can easily lose two to four kilos of body mass. That’s a lot of water lost. So this is probably one of the toughest races out of the whole season.
People don’t realise how physically demanding Formula 1 is. It looks very simple: Just driving a car around. But inside the car, it’s a lot more difficult than that, and very stressful on our neck, core and legs. It’s about endurance; doing it for two consistent hours without making any mistakes. It’s difficult.
What are your aspirations with McLaren?
As you know, I’ll be driving with McLaren all the way till I’m 25 years old and I have confidence in them. I want to believe that McLaren will be the only team that I’ll be winning for, and I want to achieve great things with them. I want to stay with McLaren for as long as I believe we can win races and championships—and I do think that’s possible. It’s not as simple as saying: ‘This weekend, we’re going to win.’ To become number one, it takes time. But I have faith. I believe in my team, my mechanics, engineers and everyone back in England.
Singapore has a huge food culture. What’s your favourite Singaporean dish?
Well, I hate fish. That said, one of my favourite Singaporean dishes is Singapore noodles. And in Singapore, it’s always noodles with prawns. So I’ll have to ask very kindly, ‘can you take out all the fish?’ In England, my friend cooks Singapore noodles and every time I go over, I have it.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.