McLaren announces Lando Norris as a teammate to Carlos Sainz in 2019
McLaren F1 Team announces today that Lando Norris will complete team’s line-up for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship season, alongside Carlos Sainz who was announced earlier as a replacement to Fernando Alonso.
The British driver from Somerset, who will celebrate 19th birthday in November, will enter the world’s premier open-wheel competition after one year in Formula 2, which followed after a championship-winning season in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Previously in a career, Norris collected few more championship titles: MSA Formula (2015), Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault NEC (2016) and Toyota Racing Series (2016).
Lando will partner Spaniard Carlos Sainz as part of a multi-year agreement with the team. Although 2019 will be Lando’s first season in Formula 1, he is no stranger to McLaren or F1 machinery, serving as a Test and Reserve driver in 2017. Norris 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, Lando 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.
“We’re very pleased to finally be able to reveal who will complete our driver line-up at McLaren for 2019. 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,” Zak Brown, McLaren Racing’s CEO, said:
“To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true. 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,” Lando Norris said.