Four-time BRDC British F3 race winner Lando Norris has been promoted to the official test and reserve driver role at Formula One team McLaren for the 2018 season.
Norris raced in BRDC British F3 in 2016 and won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award at the end of the season, before being snapped up by the legendary British team as a junior driver for the 2017 season, delivering a hugely impressive performance in this year’s mid-season test at the Hungaroring in August.
The 17-year-old dominated the 2017 FIA European F3 Championship, winning the title with two races to spare, backing up his performances in 2016 which saw him win two Formula Renault Championships as well as taking British F3 wins at Snetterton, Rockingham and a double at Spa Francorchamps.
Eyeing up a move into either FIA Formula 2 or Japan’s Super Formula series in 2018, Norris’ new role at McLaren will see him replace former World Champion Jenson Button in the role, and will attend Grands Prix and take part in the team’s 2018 test programme, with active roles both on the track and in the simulator.
Norris commented: “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.”
Zak Brown, McLaren Technology Group Executive Director, commented: “Lando is an outstanding young talent. Today’s announcement is thoroughly deserved and underlines the incredible high regard in which we hold his abilities. 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 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.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director, 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.”
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