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Official: Norris to partner Sainz at McLaren

NEWS STORY
03/09/2018

McLaren has announced that Lando Norris will complete its driver line-up for the 2019 season, partnering Carlos Sainz.

The announcement came exactly sixty minutes after the Woking outfit revealed that Stoffel Vandoorne would be leaving the team at season end.

Norris, 18, from Somerset, McLaren's test and reserve Driver and is currently second in the Formula 2 Championship, having won on his Formula 2 debut from pole position, with four races from two events remaining.

Norris will partner Carlos Sainz, as part of a multi-year agreement with the team. Although 2019 will be his first season racing in Formula 1, Norris is no stranger to McLaren or F1 machinery.

He has been part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme since early 2017, when he officially joined the team as test and simulator driver. Since then, he has regularly conducted race simulation work for the team and also participated in Formula 1 testing – in Abu Dhabi in 2017, and Spain and Hungary in 2018. Most recently, he has driven in the first free practice sessions in both Belgium and Italy.

In his early career prior to joining McLaren, Norris rose rapidly through the ranks in junior racing categories, winning the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and the Toyota Racing Series Championship all in 2016, in addition to five karting championships in the four previous years. Last year, he contested the European Formula 3 Championship, which he won at the first attempt.

"We're very pleased to finally be able to reveal who will complete our driver line-up at McLaren for 2019," said Zak Brown. "We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we've very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.

"We already know he's fast, he learns quickly, and has a mature head on his young shoulders. We see much potential for our future together. The investment we have made in his budding career with simulator development and seat-time in the car has been well-deserved, as he has continued to prove his abilities both behind the wheel and in his work with the engineering team.

"Lando is an integral part of our plan for rebuilding our Formula 1 operation for the future, and he has already developed a strong relationship with the team.

"In Lando and Carlos we have an impressive duo who, despite their relative youth, hold valuable experience in Formula 1 and with McLaren, and represent the next generation of McLaren drivers to lead the team forward. While our short-term focus is fixed on securing the best possible result for the remainder of the 2018 season, we're also massively motivated by the opportunities that lie ahead."

"To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true," said Norris. "Although I've been part of the team for a while now, 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. I'm also extremely grateful for the commitment McLaren has already shown in my development, allowing me to build my experience in a Formula 1 car in both testing and on Fridays during the past two race weekends.

"For the remainder of 2018, my focus remains firmly on the Formula 2 championship. My objective is to win the title before joining McLaren full-time, which will be tough, but I will fight as hard as I can for the remaining four races. I'll also be working closely with McLaren at every opportunity to learn as much as possible from the drivers, engineers and mechanics to give myself the best preparation ahead of next year."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by nonickname, 04/09/2018 9:43

"Do better with Chuck Norris.
Watched the last F2 race. Boy did he get a driving lesson in the first race."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Batman, 04/09/2018 3:36

"In this days, Mclaren seems more like a road roller machine where the driver seat is at the front of the cylinder."

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3. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 03/09/2018 19:23

"So much for the importance of experience.
Though he's having a crappy time of it (especially compared to Alonso), I'd hoped that Vandoorne would be retained for at least another season so Norris could at least win the F2 championship or Vandoorne would come right and McLaren would not want to let him go.
There is hardly any in season testing now compared to when McLaren went with Hamilton back in late 2006 to bring him up to speed (literally) for 2007. Back then Hamilton even had a couple of decent shunts to get to grips with what he could and could not do with the car.
I really hope this works out for McLaren and Norris. Otherwise in a couple of years or less there will be another driver change, or two.
Perhaps rather than leaving at least one driver in place from this season and fixing what is really broken in the team, McLaren signed Norris, as good as he could be, to head of the advances of another team for Norris's talents. Time will tell.

"

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4. Posted by hussainahm, 03/09/2018 16:59

"@YuppieScum I doubt Sainz would be too upset as they’ll be fighting in the midfield at best."

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5. Posted by YuppieScum, 03/09/2018 15:18

"This could be interesting - can anyone remember the last time McLaren paired an experienced Spanish-speaking driver with a British rookie?"

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6. Posted by Peter Rickitt, 03/09/2018 14:45

"" This is all part of my brilliant egoistic plan for being able to blame the inexperience of my drivers , thus diverting all criticism from my own abject incompetence, whilst being able to luxuriate in the plaudits of their scoring only single points - am I not the ace strategist in backside-covering ? I am not called brown without reason."
A Zak release we will never see."

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7. Posted by PlayF1, 03/09/2018 13:37

"It looks to me like a roll of the dice, driven by circumstances and cost cutting.

"maybe we can produce a great car for next season, and maybe Lando will be brilliant".

Let's hope that the gamble pays off.
However, the odds are not great.

McLaren have gone from having 2 extremely costly, world champions, to a mid-field racer and a rookie.
Does this mean that they are not expecting to have a great car next year?

Sadly; all the time that they had with JB and FA was wasted on failed race cars.

This current situation can be traced back to the decision to drop Mercedes and gamble on Honda and size zero.
It's been all downhill ever since.

With this latest decision, that trajectory might be maintained.
(let's hope not)


"

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8. Posted by Editor, 03/09/2018 13:11

"@ nonickname

Or glum and glummer when they discover what they've let themselves in for."

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9. Posted by nonickname, 03/09/2018 13:04

"If this was a movie the title would be Dumb and Dumber"

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