F1: Lando Norris will partner Carlos Sainz at McLaren next year
British teenager will replace Stoffel Vandoorne next season
Lando Norris’s Formula 1 dreams have come true after he was named on the McLaren line-up for the 2019 season.
The British driver, who is 18, will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next season and partner fellow new recruit Carlos Sainz. Sainz, who is 23, will take Fernando Alonso’s seat.
Norris, from Somerset, is currently McLaren’s test and reserve driver. He also competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship where he sits second in the standings.
“To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true,” he said. “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.”
Norris said that he planned to give it his all. “For the remainder of 2018, my focus remains firmly on the Formula 2 championship,” he announced. “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.”
McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown expressed his faith in the budding star.
“We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason,” he said. “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.
“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.”
Vandoorne leaves McLaren after winning only eight points so far this season. He hasn’t scored a point since the fourth grand prix of 2018 and sits 16th in the F1 drivers’ standings.
In a post on Instagram, he said: “The past 2 seasons we didn’t achieve the success we’d hoped, but I want to thank everyone for the opportunities they gave me. I met great people and made many friends during my time at McLaren and will give it everything for the final 7 races! ... looking forward to a new chapter in my career!”