Lando Norris, McLaren, Hungaroring

Norris handed F1 debut with McLaren for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Lando Norris will make his Formula 1 debut for McLaren in 2019, the team has announced.

The 18-year-old said getting his chance to drive for the team was “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.”

Norris, the reigning European Formula Three champion, lies second in the Formula Two championship, 22 points behind rival George Russell.

“For the remainder of 2018, my focus remains firmly on the Formula Two championship,” he said. “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 CEO Zak Brown described Norris as “an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.”

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“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 Norris, Carlin, Formula Two, 2018
Norris facts: 12 things you should know about McLaren’s future F1 driver
“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.”

Norris will partner Carlos Sainz Jnr, who is moving to the team from Renault.

“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,” Brown continued.

“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.”

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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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  • 131 comments on “Norris handed F1 debut with McLaren for 2019”

    1. Got work to do kid. Let’s hope mclaren pull their finger out and give you and Sainz the car to do it.

      1. Norris is the most overhyped driver who ever entered F1. He has been overhyped by the British media bigtime. I would rather see Russel get a seat than this kid who isn’t at all impressive in the GP2 series.

        Zak Brown is his manager….that explaines it all

      2. Most overhyped driver ever to enter F1. Overhyped by the British media and fans.
        I would have rather seen Russel getting a seat at McLaren instead of Norris. (I know Mercedes blabla) But he is the real talent.

        1. Go back to Autosport forums with that rubb1sh!

          Lando will be a legend.

          1. I hope you aint being serious ;D

            Legend? Lando is a good drver…thats it..but he is not on the level of Russel let alone Ocon and Gasly let alone Leclerc…..and a big LET ALONE Verstappen.

            Like I said…overrated by many

            1. Diesel, if you think that Norris is the “most overhyped driver ever to enter F1”, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention to how colossally overhyped some past drivers entering F1 have been, not just in the UK but across the rest of the world as well.

              Just as a few examples, Jan Magnussen was massively hyped up after he recorded the most dominant performance that has ever been witnessed in the British Formula 3 championship, utterly smashing Senna’s record in that series – only to have a pretty disastrous career once he entered F1, eventually being dropped midway through the 1998 season.

              Bruno Senna was another driver whom I can remember being rather aggressively hyped up prior to entering F1, whilst in the Brazilian press Felipe Nasr was another driver who was rather aggressively hyped up before having a similarly unsuccessful career.

              Comparatively speaking, the relative hyping up of Norris when compared to his record in junior series is not as extreme as I have seen elsewhere, so I would say he is not even remotely the “most overhyped driver ever to enter F1”.

          2. People were saying the same about Stoffel and look what happened. McLaren gave him 2 poor cars and he hasn’t looked comfortable at any point since his debut. I sure hope they get it together for Lando, because McLaren may as well have blood on their hands with all the talent they’ve been wasting.

        2. Remember that Lando is 2 years younger than Russell. At Norris’ current age, Russell came 3rd in F3, and at the age Norris won F3 last year, Russell was 6th. When Norris is the age Russell is now he’ll be much better. Also, I expect Russell will get a seat at Williams, so will also be in F1 next year anyway.

          1. That said, I would’ve ideally liked Norris to come 2nd in F2 and then have another year at that level. Then he’d still only be 20 at the start of his first F1 season.

          2. aahhh..you don’t know that for sure. Lando is missing the X factor that guys like Lando, Lewis and Verstappen have. I imagine he will be a good midfield driver for the right team.

            It’s a risk starting your F1 career at McLaren. Sainz will not let his 2015 season repeat itself.

        3. Most overhyped driver ever to enter F1

          LOL Diesel.

          I have seen such big hypes for Hamilton, for Vandoorne too (also for Leclerc it was more than now for Norris), for Max Verstappen – and off course for the likes of Montoya and J. Villeneuve, not to mention a guy like Bourdais or a Heikki Kovalainen. Norris “hype” is really nothing compared to them.

          1. When Lewis and Verstappen got hyped…it was pretty understandble. But Norris being hyped on a level compared with Hamilton is overhyping on the highest level of overhyping. It seems like the British are desperate to find a new Lewis when he retires. Where Hamilton and Verstappen backed it up…I don’t see Norris doing the same. IMHO Russel is the better driver. A shame he is in the Mercedes group together with Ocon and Wehrlein where they having trouble to place them.

            I see Norris as a good midfield driver. Let him beat Sainz first…then we talk ;)

            1. If the british media wants a new Lewis and George Russell is better than the overated Norris why wouldnt they just back Russell? They are both English

    2. As much as I want to see Norris race for McLaren, as a fan, I’m a little concerned.

      Their line-up will really lack that killer experience that a former champion brings. Yes, Red Bull seem to do fine with young drivers that come through the ranks. The difference is that they’ve consistently had a competitive car. McLaren need an experienced head to help develop the hell out of their 2019 car and beyond.

      1. I agree. Norris is young, there was no hurry. Plus Sainz is probably no Alonso and Vandoorne was decent compared to other Alonso team mates (Ham excluded). Plus, Russel is probably the hottest property in F2 so Mc Laren is essentially saying they can’t afford / sway a top drawer driver anymore and don’t care if their car is driven by (promising) youths. I’m concerned.

        1. This means Mc Laren has to wait for Key, for how long? Not sure what’s the priority for Mc Laren, improving the car or keeping the young (unproven?) talent?

      2. This means Mc Laren has to wait for Key, for how long? Not sure what’s the priority for Mc Laren, improving the car or keeping the young (unproven?) talent?

      3. I do hope Mercedes will let Ocon go and let him join STR

      4. Well the Alonso feedback CLEARLY isn’t helping improving the car

        1. Maybe it is. You don’t know all the facts.

        2. Maybe, maybe not, but now they’ll start with two drivers with little experience with the team. On the upside, a clean slate can’t hurt them much considering how badly they’ve been performing and Vandoorne may now go about the end of the season a little more like Takuma Sato and less like Brendan Hartley.

    3. Yep, got work to do indeed @nemo87; not only due to state of McLaren, but looking at this F2 season, not quite sure he’s ready for F1 yet either. But, hope for the best, and perhaps it will be more like Sainz/Verstappen pairing at Torro Rosso: not the best car, but clear they are doing good things (though hopefully w/o the rumoured strife between the two camps).

    4. I really wonder how McLaren will be able to make progress with two new drivers, one being a rookie that despite having shown good promise hasn’t achieved much so far.

      1. And question, to anyone, when was the last time that a team replaces both drivers at once? I can’t recall of any irecently, the move looks very risky.

        1. @spoutnik – Toro Rosso did so last year, but they are of course the experimental lab for RBR.

        2. @spoutnik Renault 2016 (excluding Toro Rosso)?

    5. Good on McLaren for promoting youth: but let’s see if they afford him the same limited patience as Vandoorne.

      1. two full seasons is more patience than most usually get

        1. Two full seasons, @johnmilk? The first season both cars were in the garage more than on track, and while reliability has improved, the car clearly hasn’t. So that’s two half years, with the decision made already a while back.

        2. At least Norris doesn’t have to wait three years for nothing before joining McLaren like Vandoorne… @johnmilk

    6. An experienced Spaniard with a hot-shot British rookie, at McLaren? Sounds familiar.

        1. And a spaniard with no world championships… Or podium for that matter

          1. And a British rookie with (most likely) no GP2/F2 title…

            1. Well but probably he is safe untill he turns 30

              Lando is an integral part of our plan for rebuilding our Formula 1 operation for the future,

      1. Both are leagues below the last pairing and the car wont be fighting for world championships. Don’t expect the same fireworks AT ALL!

      2. That Spaniard also has some experience with a teenager teammate. If he gets beaten again that will destroy him.
        But he has grown, and Lando isn’t Max.

      3. Alonso vs Hamilton – Poundland Edition?

    7. Not too surprising except for the timing of this announcement/confirmation. Still, I was hoping more for Ocon to get it.

    8. Lando better get used to it pretty quickly and perform. I think Sainz is one of the most, if not the most overrated driver in the grid, so I don’t think too much about McLaren’s duo

        1. Lando is not a system, he is a man!

            1. No, but he hasn’t much love for Freddos, that much I know

    9. Well it’s either a great thing for Norris or he’ll be destined to come out of it poorly like Perez, Magnussen and now Vandoorne – McLaren’s track record for burning through promising drivers is quite astounding. Can’t help but think McLaren’s got to really focus on their car more than their drivers currently.

      1. Also, being cynical, how much of this was simply to deny Red Bull/Toro Rosso the use of Norris in revenge for them stalling Key?

        1. Or maybe this rumored loan deal involved Stroffel rather than Nando?

          1. Vandoorne has no contract for next year, no need for a deal if Toro Rosso wants him

      2. @rocketpanda

        Can’t help but think McLaren’s got to really focus on their car more than their drivers currently.

        This is what I’ve felt since the 3rd season with Honda. It doesn’t matter who’s in the car anymore as long as they’re competent and intelligent with feedback, so may as well take the youngest who can provide that and blood them.

    10. Not my choice…his last few (2 races he has been outdriven by Russel…think Mclaren have taken him too early

    11. None of their drivers have won a race in F1. I don’t think that had happened since the 90s

      1. Or even scored a podium… has that ever happened!?

        1. one big advantage then.. they are already used to it ;)

    12. I know this wont go well down here. I always felt Lewis would have been better blooded by McLaren at a lower team for a season. This actually works quite well in life in general and served Alonso well.

      This is the right move for Lando IMO and correct of McLaren and will probably do him better in the long run than if say he was dumped staright into a Mercedes quality car.
      He needs McLaren to vastly improve within 2 years though, otherwise he will have to move on from there if he is as talented as we all hope.

    13. This must feel a bit like joining the Enterprise and being assinged a red shirt, no?

      1. Well, that’s just the punishment for his name being Lando.

    14. Fingers crossed as i hope Vasseur gets to sign Vandoorne and keep Leclerc. Vandoorne / Leclerc would be a pretty decent pairing and maybe / probably better than Mc Laren… Sounds hard to swallow. “Sauber has better driver pairing than Mc Laren” (and better car too).

      1. @tango was thinking about Magnussen /Vandoorne at Haas. Unlikely to happen but would be a nice line up as well.

        Both Sauber and Haas might favor a Ferrari chosen driver though. I would really like to see him against another team mate and in another structure than McLaren.

      2. I’m hoping for Vandoorne and the torpedo at Toro Rosso

        But don’t forget Mercedes needs to place Ocon somewhere!

        1. Ocon to Williams, together with Kubica? One can dream.

    15. I’m happy for Norris, but I’m really not sure if this is the best move.
      Carlos’ performance at Renault hasn’t really convinced me he is at Alonso’s level. Although Mclaren are lost in terms of car design, unless something fantastic happens with the new car they may lose thier reference.

      1. Maybe that was the plan all along? If you are very slow and nobody is around to give a referene, are you very slow at all?

        1. Good observation. Norris and Sainz might turn out to be McLaren’s new ‘Honda’.

    16. To be fair, Norris will be 19 years old when he starts next season. I think he should be afforded time, as he is likely nowhere near his peak yet. Vandoorne, on the other hand, was 25 when he made his full-time McLaren debut. I think that will be significant in McLaren’s decision and how much time they give him. Not to mention that it was either now or never for them with Norris, as they had until September 30th, after which he’d be a free agent.

      1. Vandoorne, 25 at F1 debut, has no financial backing, so had to race his chances together, to end up parked at age 22 @McLaren. He started late as a kid, since he doesn’t come from a racing pedigree. He isn’t British, but Belgian
        Meanwhile some kids have a bit of talent, and dad buys a team, upgrades the engineering in lower classes, and later on buys half or even a complete F1-team to get there ASAP. Stroll, but also some future stars…
        Max Verstappen , who’s got lots of talent, just started racing very early, and both dad and mum’s family have contacts in the racing world, and know where to find money. Same for Sainz.

        1. I’m not saying that Vandoorne was poor to get to F1 aged 25 and that it shows he is untalented. I’m simply stating that due to Norris’ age, he will likely get more time at McLaren, as he is lower down on the development curve. Norris may not have done as well as Russell in F2 this year for example, but he is 2 years younger, and I have no doubt that in two years time, he’ll be a better driver than Russell was this year. It’s akin to Perez vs. Ocon last season. Ocon was the inferior of the two last season, but he was far younger and more inexperienced, and there was no doubt that when he reached the same age and experience of Perez at that particular time, he’d be better.

          1. If a driver’s age on their debut in F1 is an indicator of talent, then I guess Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen are going to make Senna and Schumacher look bad look like Yuji Ide.

            1. @forzamaldonado I never said that. But what the age generally indicates is how far along their own personal development curve the driver is, and how close (or far) they are likely to he from their prime.

        2. Verstappen didn’t bring a pound to F1. His dad had to pay his karting bills but I quess Max payed him back in threefold

          1. The CEO of Jumbo a big supermarket in NL gave lots of financial support to Verstappen and is still a sponsor to this day

            1. In F1 yes…..but only as a sponsor to Verstappen and not RBR. Jumbo didn’t sponsor Max during his karting days. They started sponsoring him during his F3 period

    17. Big mistake IMO. It’s too soon for everyone involved. McLaren needs a reliable, experience duo, not the best new thing around the block. Hope it works for Lando. But I’d not get my hopes up. This announcement feels similar to Kevin and Stuff’s.

      1. @fer-no65

        Maybe the new drivers could chip-in at the aero factory or take a crash course in chassis engineering?

        Would love to see him back, but what exactly would Button do with that package? except lose heart quickly.

        1. @bigjoe why would Jenson return? I never said such thing, I meant that a debutant in F1 isn’t the best idea IMO given the state of this team.

          1. @fer-no65

            A team that convinced Alonso they had the best chassis but had close to the worst. A team with a dysfunctional aero department.
            What could another experienced driver bring that Alonso couldn’t?

    18. Can’t say I’m surprised by Vandoorne’s sacking: he may be close to Alonso on pace, but there’s no escaping the fact that he’s (so far) been unable to qualify ahead of the Spaniard and/or consistently match/beat him on race pace. Literal case of the old saying, “close but no cigar”.

      However, I do take some issue with Stoffel being replaced by Lando Norris. I agree that Norris is a skilled driver, but he is unproven in terms of F1. He may be good in F2 (although his title chances seem to be slipping), but as the likes of Vandoorne and Pascal Wehrelin proved before him, F1 is a completely different ballgame.

      I would have preferred McLaren placed either Perez, Ocon or Raikkonen alongside Sainz Jr.; so at least they could have had someone with both speed and experience (forget about Kubica for now, from his test times his hype seems to be fueled more by romanticism rather than facts). Lando might prove to be a prodigy, but based on facts alone he will take some time to get up to speed.

    19. McLaren are effectively aiming for best of the rest until the next major regulation changes (and potentially changing engine supplier again), giving Lando a couple seasons to gain experience makes sense as he is their future. Its Sainz i feel sorry for.

    20. Poor guy. The other rich kid’s dads bought them faster cars.

    21. Bold move by Mclaren..not sure it will pay off in the short term though.

      I am very surprised that they did not sign an experienced pair of hands to guide them through their current transition period. Lando is no doubt talented and quick, but you could end up being chucked in the deep end too early.

      Plenty of work to be done at Mclaren, would be interesting to understand the logic behind this move. They’ve got high hope for Norris, but I do get the feeling that Zak Brown’s hand was possibly forced here. Could it be that Norris was on the verge of being snagged by another team? Red Bull are short a couple drivers. Perhaps this was the only way to keep him at Mclaren?

      I had my money on Kimi.

      1. I’d hoped for Kimi!

    22. I think their dowhill started back in 2012 when they lost lewis and after that bad decisions followed each other..

      1. McLaren’s downhill started in 2008. They’ve never got it together like 2007.

        1. Hahahaha man, Nando’s fans are hilarious.

    23. Not ready. He’s been slightly outpaced by a not-massively-special teammate in F2 and would probably be behind him in the championship as well if Sette Camara hadn’t had such spectacularly bad luck. Another season in F2 would have been better. I don’t think he’s got the pedigree yet of Vandoorne and can’t see him causing too much trouble for Sainz. However I do hope Mclaren can produce a competent car next season so he both drivers have a fair shot at impressing.

    24. Not what McLaren needs; they need experience (more than even Sainz can give them).
      As much as I hope Sainz and Norris will be future winners, this is the wrong decision for McLaren. McLaren seems to want to go the same way as Williams.

      1. They needed a development driver, someone like Kubica.
        And for the current development it would have been nice to choose someone who can compare cars.
        For now it looks a next panic reaction by Zak B.

    25. Lando is good but I can’t help but think that George Russell is more deserving of an F1 opportunity. George is leading the championship, Has won more races, Has looked like the faster of the 2 & seems more ready for F1 than Lando is.

      We’ll see how he does but if Russell ends up winning the F2 championship yet still gets overlooked by F1 in favor of the runner up i’m not sure that would be fair. But then when has life in the world of MotorSport ever been fair I guess.

      1. George is a Mercedes driver.

    26. this will be the first time in a while that the McLaren line-up will not include any race winner, in fact not even a podium finisher…
      if I were Lando, I’d be concerned about being the fourth “future star” McLaren has put in the car since Hamilton… didn’t work out for neither Perez, Magnussen or Vandoorne and it always seems to be the driver’s fault

    27. I don’t know much about Vandoorne but people here held him in high regard. I wonder if he’s the victim of driving for McLaren, a team that over the past years has been incapable of developing talent and eventually even somehow managed to push Lewis away. It’s also not like Perez’s and Magnussen’s careers blossomed at McLaren either – both almost ended up out of F1 – a situation that Vandoorne is finding himself in.

      It’s also important to note that Alonso’s teammates who were very experienced including Massa and Kimi both weren’t able to perform at their maximum when paired with Alonso. Alonso himself recently stated that he’s not the best qualifier but somehow his teammates perform at the lowest level around him.

      I watched the Netflix documentary and even seeing the team briefly, it made me realize that I wouldn’t want to work there. I think it takes a special driver (not only in terms of skill but also in terms of mental fortitude) to excel at McLaren.

      In the end, the combination of McLaren and Alonso may have simply been too much for Stoffel. I’d love to see him in another team so we can gain a better understanding of his racing skills.

    28. Ocon and Stroll simply swapping seats then?

      1. Williams want a pay driver so I don’t see them taking Ocon @mxmxd

        1. Maybe Mercedes will give Williams the engines for free or heavily discounted in order to take Ocon. That is really messed up, i know, just to even think that a talent like Ocon needs to pay and beg for a seat at the slowest car in the field.

    29. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      3rd September 2018, 15:05

      Always good to make your debut for a lower-midfield team rather than being thrown in at the deep end.

    30. 2019:
      Ferrari: Vettel- Leclerc
      Mc laren: Sainz- Norris
      Williams: Ocon/ Russel- Sirotkin/Markelov
      Torro Rosso: Kyat- Hatrley/ Vandoorne
      Sauber: Giovanazzi-Ericsson

    31. In my opinion, this is a terrible move by McLaren which is no longer a racing company only. They are a supercar manufacturer that’s up there with Lamborghini and Ferrari. It is a privilege for any driver to drive for McLaren and right now McLaren needs drivers who are seasoned and can score points, not drivers that they can develop. They have that in Sainz who is capable of scoring points.

      Where’s the star power with Sainz and Norris at the team which a few seasons ago had Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button? How will they get sponsorship with these drivers? If you think about it, next year McLaren’s lineup will have less star power than Haas and one of the least experienced lineups.

      Williams had Bottas and Massa a few years ago and they were thriving because they both could score points and develop a better car. Now they have Sirotkin and Stroll and they have no clue what’s going on at the races – it’s a good thing they have GPS and can at least find their way to the track. Stroll is moving on and now Williams will lose the money he brought in but will end also up with less winnings from the WCC and in a much worse position.

    32. McLaren’s downhill started in 2008. They’ve never got it together like 2007 and even then couldn’t make teamwork function.

    33. No surprise at all given Zaks relationship with Lando. Just as sure as Stroll in a rsforceindia

    34. Surprising, because he hasn’t even stood out in F2. Perhaps McLaren are receiving some pennies from his dad…

      1. I know nothing about this chap other than what I have read/heard on forums like this. Is he another of the paying drivers then?

        1. Depends who you ask… to me personally, he seems to have talent, but I don’t think there’s any question that his path has been significantly eased by the fact his family is very wealthy (not Stroll level, but way above average racing kids).

          Guess we’ll have to wait and see how good he really is.

    35. Mark in Florida
      3rd September 2018, 16:36

      Lando fixing to go through the wood chipper known as McLaren. Two young drivers a bad car what can go wrong? Man what is McLaren thinking? They should have gotten an experienced driver to pair with Sainz not some rookie, when they develop the car for next year can they even get any gainful information from either driver. None of the drivers for next year have even driven a McLaren they don’t know the cars characteristics of how it can be improved. I think McLaren is digging a huge hole for themselves.

      1. Norris did FP1 at Spa last week.

        He has also tested for McLaren.

      2. I don’t understand this experienced driver argument, they have had at least 1 experienced driver in their line-up since 2013 and are still NOWHERE

        They should hire better engineers instead of paying Button’s, Alonso’s or Räikkönen’s salary

    36. This reeks of desperation. They are directionless, swapping every component in a feeble attempt to Band-Aid over the fact that they haven’t got a clue how to design a race car at the moment.

      I fear that Norris will suffer a fate similar to that of Vandoorne. I suppose the biggest difference is he won’t have to live in Alonso’s shadow, but what does it matter when they’ll be fighting for position against Williams next year?

      To quote K.C. Green, “this is fine.”

    37. Interesting moves by McLaren. It leaves me wondering whether they’ve chosen to proritize heavily on the car until they get back up to par. There’s all this talk about needing someone experienced to help develop the car, but if you look at it financially it makes a lot of sense; with Fernando Alonso’s gargantuan salary requirements gone and the fact that they can probably go quite a bit lower on salary for Lando Norris than someone like Vandoorne, with a few years on his belt, this means they have the money on hand to pull in actual development talent like Key.

      I think McLaren is finally starting to think clearly.

      1. I doubt Vandoorne’s salary (probably less than a million a year) is breaking McLaren’s bank…

        1. Yes, I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s breaking the bank, but logic says Lando’s salary would be significantly less. Especially seeing as Vandoorne would be looking at a contract renewal and thus a deserved raise.

          I don’t think their salary played a major role in the decision making, but I think over the course of 3 years, they can see the benefit of having cheaper but talented drivers at the helm while they spend money on the car and the engineering talent. I think this move is hinting at where McLaren’s priorities are now…

          1. Just had a look at the figures posted a while back of the prize money earned by the teams last year. With Alonso’s salary widely estimated to be around 30 million, and Vandoorne’s (just a guess) around 5 million, their salary commands almost half of the teams 83 million prize money haul. That’s absurd!

            If you look at Lewis’ salary (estimated at around 40 mil) and Valtteri’s (~10 mil) during the same period. They command just about a quarter of Mercedes’ prize haul, leaving most of the prize for development and the team’s salary. I know there are a lot more complex economics involved in running these corporations, but back of the napkin calcs show that at least halving the driver costs in McLaren would put operational cost ratios almost on par with the front runners.

            I think 75% team and 25% drivers is a very reasonable distribution of value for a team of this caliber and it’s about time McLaren starts to re-prioritize.

            1. But remember that McLaren were getting 100m a year from Honda so they’ll have less to spend even after saving Fred’s salary. I doubt McLaren will get anywhere until the new formula starts when everyone starts from scratch, regardless of who is driving for them.

        2. I have read in a few places it was 7 million

    38. Undeserved promotion in my opinion. Like others, I’m not impressed by his junior performances especially this year in F2.

      Vandoorne actually has a much better track record. I don’t see why Norris would be any better at all. Mclaren has wasted yet another rookie after Magnussen and Perez. I hope Vandoorne gets another chance in F1, preferably at a more consistent team.

      Sainz-Norris has got to be one of Mclaren’s weakest drive line-ups in a long time.

      1. @me4me:

        Sainz-Norris has got to be one of Mclaren’s weakest drive line-ups in a long time.

        Have to match the drivers to the cars – keep the package in balance.

    39. Good luck for him, I think he’s gonna be the fourth junior that McLaren will ruin in a row

      I don’t understand why they are so quick to promote Norris while they made Vandoorne wait three years before promoting him

      1. Vandoorne arrived on pure talent and was hired by Dennis, who was only interested in winning.
        Norris arrived via his rich dad, hired and managed by Brown, who does not seem interested in winning at all.

    40. I really hope McLaren doesn’t ruin another young driver’s career. And I do hope Vandoorne gets a chance with another team. I agree that he hasn’t done well even considering the poor car, but team dynamics and morale are a big factor and McLaren are a mess. I’d like to see him at Sauber against LeClerc.

    41. Seems like quite an odd decision. We may all be surprised next year but I cannot see McLaren making a lot of progress with this driver line up. Sainz is still quite young and I think they might have been better going for someone with a little more experience. Perez would have been ideal but perhaps he turned them down.

      I can’t help but think that Lando would not have been harmed by another year in F2. Perhaps they were afraid of losing him to someone else if they didn’t offer him a seat?

      It has been widely rumored that Ocon recently had a seat fitting at McLaren but things didn’t work out. Does this mean then that Mercedes have arranged a place for him elsewhere? I cannot imagine they want to see him off of the grid completely.

      1. Perhaps Norris was starting to look elsewhere after having felt that dog of a car, forcing McLaren to quickly sign him before him becoming free on Sep 30th?

    42. Hoping for a Perez move to Haas so Ocon can stay at Force India.

    43. I think this is a good move. They will build the team around Norris and in 3 or 4 years he will have good experience, still be young, and the package should be a lot better. Once Key arrives, things will progress quite quickly, me thinks. Long-term thinking. Good. Vandoorne will already be 27 at the start of next season. He’s going to be another driver itching to have a good car before his career ends. I do think he has done pretty well when you consider the humongous benchmark that Alonso is. But if you’re going to go with young blood, best do it now. What they really need now is James Key…

      1. I tend to agree with you.
        He can get used to the F1 circus and the team for a season and then when the new spec cars are introduced he hopefully won’t feel like a total beginer and the car may be improved … we can all hope so anyway.

        I no nothing about the lad but I wish him well.

    44. It’s a joke. They get rid of one of the best junior series drivers since Hamilton for an 18 year old because of their own joke of a race car. And what do they expect Sainz will do as first driver next year?

    45. The real worry is what is going to happen with Ocon.

      Does he have to hope that Lewis retires suddenly after winning the WDC this year?

      At this stage, unless Otmar can convince the FI owners that they’re far better off to leave the driver lineup unchanged, there’s a high likelihood of him missing out on a seat. Certainly appears that there’ll be no decent seat available which really sucks.

    46. As much as I am happy to see Lando get the drive, I am equally sad that Vandoorne, and Ocon did not.

      However I believe that unless Mclaren produce a decent car, it is useless to change drivers (one of the best drivers in the world is struggling to get a point at the moment, I fail to understand how replacing Vandoorne (who I believe is a decent driver) with Norris will be of any benefit, it will only risk burning (another) young talent.

      I do hope that Mclaren prove me wrong.

    47. Nando to Lando..

      Poetic.

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