European F3 champion Lando Norris has been announced as McLaren’s official Formula 1 test and reserve driver for next season. The 17-year-old Briton will play an active role in the team’s 2018 programme, both on track and in the simulator, as well as attending Grands Prix.
Norris to be McLaren’s 2018 F1 reserve
Lando is somebody who arrives with a very high level of ability, ambition and application
Norris has been a member of the McLaren Young Driver programme since the start of 2017, and made his F1 test debut with the team in August at the Hungaroring. Last month he won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship at his first attempt.
“I’m so excited to be joining McLaren as test and reserve driver for 2018,” said Norris. “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 (Alonso) and Stoffel (Vandoorne), and I will do my best to help with the team’s efforts to get back to the front.”
Norris is also currently assessing the opportunities and budgets required for a full single-seater racing campaign next season, which he can combine with his McLaren testing duties.
“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,” he added. “I hope to be able to announce something shortly.”
Commenting on Norris’s signing, McLaren’s 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.”
Following Fernando Alonso’s recent confirmation that he will stay with the team for 2018, McLaren are set to field an unchanged race line-up next season.