Lando Norris, Carlin, European Formula Three, Hockenheimring, 2017

Norris facts: 12 things you should know about McLaren’s future F1 driver

2017 F1 season

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With a McLaren test and reserve driver contract under his belt before his 18th birthday, it’s no wonder Lando Norris is being tipped for big things.

Here’s 12 things you should know about the driver who’s already being tipped as F1’s next Lewis Hamilton.

He’s an F3 champion and his dad’s loaded

Lando Norris, Carlin, MSA Formula, 2015
Norris won first single-seater title in ’15
Sounds familiar? Yes, the same was also true of F1 rookie Lance Stroll 12 months ago. However Lawrence Stroll is both older (68) and wealthier (estimated net worth £1.8 billion) than Lando Norris’s father Adam (46, £200 million).

So Norris, like Stroll, has wanted for little in his ascent through the junior categories. In karts and racing cars, competing in multiple categories during the same season was routine for Norris until this year. But that high degree of preparation has had the results to match.

He’s the youngest ever karting world champion

By 2010 Norris had won Britain’s Cadet karting category for junior racers. His 2013 season was a stellar campaign, yielding silverware in the CIK-FIA KF Junior championship plus the super cup and Euro series. He missed out on the world junior title, but made amends the following year.

Now in the top KF category, Norris became the youngest driver ever to win the world title, at the age of 14

Hamilton’s old rival is showing him the ropes

In 1998 Lewis Hamilton was beaten to the Champions of the Future karting title by Fraser Sheader, a competitive racer who lacked the backing to progress much further up the motor racing ladder.

Sheader went on to set up a driver talent management company called ADD Motorsports. The company specialises in selecting talent at a young age and Norris joined them soon after graduating from cadets. All aspects of driver training are catered for including fitness, diet, psychology and of course driving skills and technical knowledge.

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His first racing interest was Moto GP

Casey Stoner, Ducati, Moto GP, 2007
Norris was a Moto GP fan first
Norris said he wasn’t into car racing when, aged seven, he had his first trip to a kart track at Clay Pigeon in Dorset. “I was more into Moto GP to be honest,” he admitted in an interview last year.

However he quickly showed an aptitude for karting and progressed through the junior ranks with his brother Oliver, who is three years older than him.

He’s a simracer

Norris is part of a new generation of drivers who’ve grown up with easy access to race simulators on which they can hone their skills. He’s put this to great use, racking up simulated hours at the wheel of his racing cars on sim games such as iRacing.

He joined simracing team Apex Racing at the end of last year.

He makes a habit of winning first time

Rookie championship wins have been Norris’s forte. In the last three years he’s won the following series as a newcomer: MSA Formula (2015), Toyota Racing Series (2016), Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup (2016), Formula Renault 2.0 NEC (2016) and European Formula Three (2017).

The latter is especially impressive not just because it’s the most high-profile championship he’s won so far. Norris continued a productive association with Carlin from MSA Formula and BRDC F3 and together they ended Prema’s domination of the category which included successive title wins for Roberto Merhi, Daniel Juncadella, Raffaele Marciello, Esteban Ocon, Felix Rosenqvist and Stroll.

He has serious racecraft

Here’s Norris battling with Formula Renault Eurocup title rival Max Defourny at the Red Bull Ring last year. Defourny was clearly the quicker of the pair and was able to pass Norris more than once, but every time Norris retaliated and re-passed his rival, performing moves on some of the more unlikely places around the track.

Finally, on the penultimate lap of the race and with two wheels on the grass, Norris produced the pass that clinched the win:

He’s short

Max Defourny, Lando Norris, Dorian Boccolacci, Formula Renault Eurocup, Paul Ricard, 2016
Norris exhibiting his ballast-friendly stature
Never a bad thing in a racing driver, along with being rich and extremely fast.

He’s already raced one current F1 driver

Not content with winning three different championships in one year, at the end of 2016 Norris made the step up into Formula Three. Stroll had already clinched the championship when Norris made a wildcard appearance at the Hockenheimring season finale.

Fortunately for Stroll, Norris and fellow newcomer Dan Ticktum were required to start from the pits. Norris lapped within a tenth of a second of pole position in race three and would have started fourth, one place ahead of the newly-crowned champion.

He lives in Somerset

Which is fitting, as he’s replaced fellow Somerset native Jenson Button as McLaren’s test and reserve driver.

He excels on ‘driver’s tracks’

Lando Norris, Monaco, Formula Renault Eurocup, 2016
Norris got to grips with Monaco quickly
On his first visit to Monaco with the Formula Renault Eurocup he put his car on pole position, only to be stripped of it due to a minor technical infringement. Heavy rain meant little green flag running in the race and half-points were awarded when it was cut short.

His first trip to Spa was another clear sign of his potential on a drivers track of an entirely different kind. He turned up in the German Formula Four championship, which he was not racing in full-time and had less experience of the equipment than his rivals, and in three races took a fourth, a second and a win.

He’ll be Alonso’s team mate in 2018

But not in Formula One, unless he gets a call-up as a substitute. Before the season begins Norris and Fernando Alonso will team up for the Daytona 24 Hours sports car race in January. Appropriately, Norris used to drive Alonso’s FA kart brand.

Last week Norris tested an LMP2 Ligier in preparation for the race. And before this year’s out he will also take on the prestigious Macau Formula Three Grand Prix (this weekend) and make his Formula Two debut at Yas Marina (the weekend after).

His plans for 2018 are yet to be confirmed, however. Unsurprisingly much speculation surrounds the future of one of the most exciting talents outside of Formula One at the moment. F2 with Prema or ART? F2 with a returning Carlin, who he has a long and successful relationship with? Or follow Stoffel Vandoorne’s footsteps to Japanese Super Formula?

Given his track record, a combination of both wouldn’t be a shock.

Read more about Lando Norris

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 53 comments on “Norris facts: 12 things you should know about McLaren’s future F1 driver”

    1. Oh – to have a wealthy racing fan for a Father!

      I’m excited for Lando Norris in a way that I never was for Lance Stroll. In a similar way he’s attached himself to a historic team, but rather than buying his way into the line-up, he’s still doing his time and working hard in the lower categories. Meanwhile, he excelled in the test in Hungary and seems a modest lad.

      The problem arrives for him if, in 2019, he’s the Formula Two champion, McLaren have had a good 2018 and Alonso and Vandoorne both want to stay. Would McLaren cast one aside (presumably Vandoorne) for Norris?

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        15th November 2017, 23:47

        Agreed. On the surface its tempting to lump him in with Stroll as they are both wealthy F3 champions, but in reality their approaches have been night and day.
        Rather than Norris seeking out McLaren for a partnership to barge their way in, all the major players were interested in signing him to junior programmes after the FR2.0 year, and it was only through winning the BRDC young driver award and accompanying McLaren test that the McLaren association came about.
        Lando has had a financial leg up in terms of being able to step into a lot of cars, but he’s shown massive talent in all of them, and climbed the ladder on merit. Lando’s path is closer to the leg up a second generation driver gets, than Stroll’s lavish F3 campaign and customer Williams seat.

      2. Been keeping an eye on his progress for 5+ years now and so far has impressed greatly – lets see if he can add the F3 Macau trophy to his cabinet this weekend

        agree slotting him into F1 (McL) is going to be tricky
        The problem as ever is, there really arn’t enough teams in F1 to allow up-and-coming drivers to showcase their talent
        Not sure I’d like him to be in a Sauber at the moment for instance, but if that’s all that’s going …
        Roll on the new engine rules ….

    2. Pretty damn good baggage to have at such young age. Maybe he replaces a Ferrari driver or more likely a RedBull driver when money no longer is an issue. Regardless of signings. They mean nothing when this kind of money is present.

      Is this then McLarens steal of the next decade in the sport?

      1. They said the same of Vandoorne before he entered F1. Vandoorne isn’t a flop, but he’s nowhere close to the World Champion beater they thought he’d be.

        I think McLaren should keep their hopes in check for Norris as well. Not every young talent is a Max Verstappen.

    3. #13 He has a cool name, Star wars mixed with old England. A marketers dream.

      1. @emu55 I rate Vandoorne, but a driver line-up of “‘nando and Lando” would sound cool.

        1. If only we were allowed 3-car teams… Nando, Lando and Vando…

          1. not in a Lambo

      2. But is he related to Chuck?

        1. It seems so.
          McLaren better give him a race seat straight away. He would lap the entire field in Abu Dahbi with one hand, the other making vettel’s finger gesture during the whole race weekend.
          And you haven’t even heard his radio messages! Timbaland, Pharrell, Drake and Justin all approved of his singing!

        2. If he was, then he’s be lapping the entire field even after his Honda engine had broken down.

    4. He doesn’t have a chin – just a second fist.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        15th November 2017, 13:34

        He beat the sun in a staring contest

        1. Lando Norris doesn’t aquaplane. The water parts at his mercy.

          1. All the time, you have to leave the space. Unless you see Lando Norris. Then you leave for outer space.

            1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
              15th November 2017, 23:04

              Lando Norris is so fast that he went purple in sector 3 when he blew up the second Death Star

        2. When Lando Norris collided with a barrier, the stewards gave the barrier a stop-go penalty for an avoidable incident.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            15th November 2017, 15:28

            Haha love these.

            Lando Norris is here for racing AND Ping-Pong.

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            15th November 2017, 17:25

            @ninjenius The barrier collided with him

        3. Lando doesn’t need to do any lift and coast, he pushes the car with his own hands at F1 speeds.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            15th November 2017, 15:38

            Lando Norris doesn’t get flat-spots, he gets potholes

        4. Lando Norris doesn’t need to conserve tyres, they’re too afraid to degrade

          1. When Lando Norris makes a start, he doesn’t accelerate past the cars in front, he makes them go to the back.

      2. OMG I just got that… Lando Norris is the Chuck Norris of the F1 world :P

      3. @fullcoursecaution @ninjenius @mbr-9 @hugh11 @carlitox
        When Nando makes a article there will be no COTD but CTOTD comment thread of the day

      4. Usain Bolt broke the 100m world record by accident because he was trying to keep up with Lando Norris.

      5. Question – Have you seen Lando race?
        Answer – No. It’s hard to spot anything faster than the speed of light.

    5. I had no idea he was monied, but I don’t think that changes the fact that he is a massive talent. I knew nothing about him before reading this, other than that he has racked up junior titles at a furious rate!

      Can’t wait for the likes of Verstappen, Vandoorne, Ocon, Norris, Leclerc and Russell to be battling it out on track in F1.

      1. This is the point. Stroll is obviously rich, Norris isn’t obviously rich because his talent speaks for itself. Has money helped? Uh yeah, obviously. Has it been the deciding factor? It appears not. That’s what separates Norris and Stroll.

        1. Money hasn’t been the deciding factor for Norris??? Don’t kid yourself…Nepotism is alive and well in F1…

    6. I am from Somerset originally. I had no idea he was from there as well. A great replacement for Jenson then!

      1. If you are from Somerset, how come you’re not an F1 driver? Both Jenson and Lando are!

    7. It doesn’t matter how many millions the parents have. Karting only costs £10k for the initial basic package. Then £50k per year, increasing as you get more serious.
      The odd £10k here and £10k there can buy up all the fast engines though.

      To the average kid on the street who’s lucky to get a PS4 for xmas, all Kart racers at the higher levels have rich daddies. It’s a shame the talent spotters can’t take kids off the street and put them in Karts.
      Yes it’s all about money.

      1. It’s a shame the talent spotters can’t take kids off the street and put them in Karts.

        How would you do that? That’s like going to a spelling bee and selecting kids for the national football team.

    8. Hate to be pedantic but Lando is from Bristol which is a county in its own right. He isn’t from Somerset.

      1. Thanks for this. I’d originally seen his birthplace reported as Glastonbury but having checked with McLaren apparently it was Bristol and Glastonbury is his residence, so I’ve changed that.

        1. No worries. Looks like I have a new driver to support as I’m from Bath, have lived in Bristol and my grandfolks lived in Glastonbury.

    9. Michael Brown (@)
      15th November 2017, 17:23

      I’m not used to reading Lando, I see it and complete it as Fernando

    10. Michael Brown (@)
      15th November 2017, 18:03

      I hope the McLaren is competitive for wins and podiums if he joins.

    11. Sounds like Stroll but will be looked on more favorably as he is British.

      1. And seems to have some talent for racing.
        Something stroll lacks by times.

        1. Stroll won many titles. When this guy wins in F1 I will believe it. Stroll is vilified before doing anything where this guy is praised. As for future F1 potential at this stage Leclerc is far more investing to me.

    12. 13: He’s the dankest memelord in motorsport

    13. Watching how close the F3 is .. reminds me of formula ford in the 1970s/80s.

      F1 needs to find a way to have such close racing !

    14. I wonder what his older brother Oliver is doing. In motor racing younger brothers tend to go further and I wonder why?

      1. I Know I know. Miss Miss…

        ahem – its because they are always measuring/playing against someone who is stronger and has years more experience. They tend to have to get used to pushing themselves to the limit whilst older bro can take it easy and still win… Till he doesn’t. Both might have the same talent, but its hunger that gets you there. Not always the case, for example I hand my ‘younger’ bro a can of whoopass every time :)

    15. Yes talented but who can forget the almost unlimited private track sessions over the past 3 seasons. Surely, it does help and probably shouldn’t be allowed. If it’s not allowed in F1, why would it be allowed somewhere else ?

      1. I don’t understand this mentality. I thought that we want the best drivers possible. And practice makes them better.
        Also, all those unlimited tests help tracks and their employees.
        Stroll is way above the F1 Rejects paydriver level, and he is trying to bridge the small deficit in natural talent to the ‘aliens’ with more practice and test.

        If the financial security would be better for smaller teams, and they wouldn’t need pay drivers and rich daddy monies, more talent would be on the grid. At the moment only Stroll and Ericsson are questionable.
        Also lower expenses for the feeder singleseater series would bring better level of competition and evaluation.
        Life isn’t fair. It never was.
        My point is that it is better to have better trained ‘Strolls’ on the grid until we can have more talented rookies not needing bags of cash to enter.

        P.S. Sean Galael will never be good enough, no matter how many tests he does.

        1. It’s not a mentality, it’s a view point that there are many shades of grey between “life isn’t fair” and bank rolling experience.

    16. I do wonder how much of his pace advantage is because he’s absolutely tiny and the accompanying weight advantage.

      https://www.autosport.com/driver/2000015105/Lando+Norris

      Autosport lists his weight as 42kg… Lewis is 68, Seb is 62, Fernando is 68, Kimi is 70kg, Max is 67kg just for reference.

      1. I think those stats are from 2015 when he was racing in German F4. http://www.fiaformula2.com/Teams-and-Drivers/Drivers/Lando-Norris/ F2 Championship have him listed at 64kg, which is much more believable, as 42kg is almost non existant.

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