European Formula 3 champion Lando Norris has been named as McLaren’s Formula 1 test and reserve driver for the 2018 season
As a member of McLaren’s Young Driver programme since 2017, the 17-year-old Briton made his testing debut this year at the Hungaroring. He won the European F3 Championship in his debut season this year as well, and is currently assessing his full-time plans for 2018.
Norris’ role will ensure he works closely with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne next season and their engineers at Grands Prix next season, with active roles on the track and in the simulator in McLaren’s 2018 testing schedule.
“I’m so excited to be joining McLaren as test and reserve driver for 2018,” said Norris in McLaren’s statement. “The last 12 months have been an incredible journey for me – I’ve enjoyed every single minute – and this is just an amazing way to bring the year to an end. I’m really looking forward to helping the team, starting next week with the tyre test at Interlagos, and I will work harder than ever to learn and develop across the next year. I have two excellent teachers in Fernando and Stoffel, and I will do my best to help with the team’s efforts to get back to the front. I’m still working hard to finalise my own racing programme for 2018 – we’re close on a number of different fronts, but not quite there yet. I hope to be able to announce something shortly.”
McLaren Technology Group executive director Zak Brown added: “Lando is an outstanding young talent. Today’s announcement is thoroughly deserved, and underlines the incredible high regard in which we hold his abilities. By winning last year in Formula Renault, triumphing in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award, and then showing the speed and consistency needed to win the European F3 championship, he is undoubtedly carving himself a reputation as one of the very best up-and-coming single-seater drivers in the world.
“His summer test for McLaren was also remarkably impressive, and was further proof that he is ready to step up and take on a role of this size, scope and responsibility. At McLaren, we are all extremely keen to help him achieve his goal of racing in Formula 1.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: “We feel it’s very important to have a fully enrolled test and reserve driver within the team. Lando will attend grands prix and become a fully integrated member of the team. Lando is somebody who arrives with a very high level of ability, ambition and application; it is our job to develop and fine-tune his focus as we increase his understanding of how a Formula 1 team operates and how a modern grand prix car works. There will be plenty of opportunity to observe, learn and participate throughout 2018, and we want to make sure Lando is fully prepared, if needed, to step into Fernando or Stoffel’s shoes at a moment’s notice.”