McLaren Honda announced on Monday that 17 year old FIA European Formula 3 Champion Lando Norris, who is part of the McLaren Young Driver programme will serve as the Woking based outfit’s official test and reserve driver for the 2018 FIA Formula One world championship season.
Norris will be active in the team’s 2018 testing programme as they embark on their new partnership with Renault Sport. The Englishman will engage fully with the team and drivers attending Grand Prix in 2018 and sitting in on engineering meetings at the track.
Speaking about the opportunity, Norris commented by saying:
I’m so excited to be joining McLaren as test and reserve driver for 2018. 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 commented on the news, saying:
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 commented on the news saying:
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.
The announcement comes as McLaren prepare for this weekend’s penultimate race of the 2017 Formula One season, the Brazilian Grand Prix.