Somerset-born racer will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at the British squad in 2019
James Attwood, digital editor
3 September 2018

Eighteen-year-old British racer Lando Norris will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at the McLaren Formula 1 team next season.

The Somerset driver, who is currently in contention for the FIA Formula 2 title, will join 23-year-old Carlos Sainz in an all-new McLaren line-up for 2019. Current team leader Fernando Alonso has stepped away from F1, while Norris will replace Vandoorne, who has driven for the team since 2016.

Norris has been backed by McLaren since the start of last year, and is currently the team's test and reserve driver. He had his first official grand prix outings when he drove Vandoorne’s car in first practice at the Belgian and Italian grands prix.

McLaren team boss Zak Brown said that Norris was “an integral part of our plan for rebuilding our Formula 1 operation for the future.” 

He added: “We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.”

Opinion: should Fernando Alonso be considered an F1 great?

There had been reports that Toro Rosso approached McLaren earlier this year about a potential F1 seat for Norris.

Norris said: “To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true. This is a special moment, one I could only hope would become reality. I’d like to thank the whole team for this amazing opportunity and for believing in me.”

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Norris has risen through the ranks rapidly, and 2019 will be just his sixth in car racing. After numerous successes in karting, including winning the world championship, Norris moved into cars in 2014, taking third overall in the Ginetta Junior Championship. 

He switched to single-seaters in 2014, winning the MSA Formula title, adding the Formula Renault Eurocup crown the following season.

He then claimed the European Formula 3 Championship in 2017, before stepping up to F2 this season. He won the opening race of the season in Bahrain and has since claimed seven more podiums. He is currently second in the standings, 22 points behind Mercedes junior driver, and fellow Brit, George Russell.

Read more

Opinion: should Fernando Alonso be considered an F1 great?

Honda in F1: the growing pains of an engine supplier

Join the debate

Comments
2

3 September 2018

 Great!, let’s see how he goes or not goes if the Chassis isn’t sorted yet, yes, I think it’s the Chassis, two different engines no change still rubbish, Honda Engine works in other Cars with slightly better Chassis, going to interesting at McLaren next season...

Peter Cavellini.

3 September 2018

Torro Rosso I presume, Hartley second from last in the table with just 2 points and Gasly with nearly half the point as Alonso in the McLaren. Would be alot more but Alonso's Honda engine keeps breaking or he crashes.

 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week