Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2018

Monza practice run was Norris’s “final test” for F1 seat

2019 F1 season

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Lando Norris passed his “final test” to earn a Formula 1 driver with McLaren for 2019 with his performance in practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

The 18-year-old told media including RaceFans how was offered a drive for the 2019 F1 season on the eve of Sunday’s race, after impressing the team two days earlier.

“I was about to get my bags of Haribos out for the team, pre-race snacks,” Norris explained, “And I walked into the office and Zak was in there. I had a flight to catch and I wasn’t able to stay for the race.

“And then he said ‘I’ve got something to tell you’ and then he basically said it. I had the whole journey home to think about it. Just a cool thing but as soon as it gets announced officially, that’s when it feels even better. It was a cool moment.”

Norris admitted he had doubts over whether he would get the chance to drive for McLaren following reports other drivers were being considered for the team’s second seat alongside Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“With all the speculation of Ocon, Perez, it kind of twisted it a tiny bit, which I think was there plan. But even for me I think they’d rather not say anything, just to leave me focusing on whatever I had to do during the weekend. I didn’t see it coming especially that quickly.”

McLaren Racing CEO said Norris’s performance in Friday’s wet practice session sealed the deal.

“We’ve been watching him mature in and out of the car. The free practice runs were kind of the final test, if you want to call it that, less about speed because we were confident of that, just how would he take to the environment of being out on the track with the big boys.

“He did extremely well, was extremely quick at Spa, was very quick in Italy. We brought him in halfway through to preserve tyres so the final time difference isn’t representative. He and Fernando were swapping times. We’re convinced he’s a star of the future.”

Brown said the team’s new driver line-up of Norris and Sainz make an ideal pairing for the team given the changes going on at McLaren.

“We’re in rebuilding mode, to have two extremely quick young drivers, one with a decent amount of experienced because he will be going into his fifth year, with someone who’s inexperienced was a good combination for us rebuilding, when we look at it over a five-year horizon.

“So for all those reasons we pretty easily came to the conclusion that Lando was the driver we wanted and it was just about him going through the due diligence process and have him pass all these tests on the way and confirm what our instinct was when we brought him on a couple of years ago.”

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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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22 comments on “Monza practice run was Norris’s “final test” for F1 seat”

  1. What, 9 laps in the rain, slowest time of all? Okay then.

    1. Hilarious right?…what a farce.

  2. was about to get my bags of Haribos out for the team, pre-race snacks

    Already a step in the right direction from the freddos

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      4th September 2018, 14:31

      Tickled me.

  3. Sainz better put him away or he is gonna lose his seat. Sainz is in a no win situation I’m afraid. If he beats him well, he beat a rookie. And if he gets beaten he is out.

    1. Zak Brown is Lando’s manager. They knew they were going to give Lando a seat all along.
      So when Carlos lost his Renault seat for good he knew who he’d be up against.

      They must have asked him whether he had any objection to having Lando as a teammate.
      “Of course not! I love having a teenager teammate! I have good experience on that matter…”

  4. And McLaren save about $20 million dollars

    1. @grec-c How so? Aren’t they still pating Alonso’s salary to race in Indy car next year?

      1. Meant “paying”

        1. Alonso does not get payed for some time now.. In return he can promote his Kimoa brand on the car.
          So a cheap replacement is always nice to have.

          1. Alonso got a salary reduction in return he can promote his brand

            I believe 20 million is his salary now

  5. On a side note: What’s common between Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll?

    1. @George They all have something in common with Belgium. That’s all I could come up with such short notice. If not then what? I can’t really figure it out.

      1. They all have Belgian mothers.

        Max’s mom comes from a belgian racing family – Kumpen.
        Norris and Stroll have belgian models who married rich men.
        Vandoorne is from a city where lots of rich folk live.

    2. The wait is killing me

      1. Well-off fathers?

    3. do they all have millionaire dads?

      1. nope.. not true.
        Still waiting for the clou..

  6. They all have Belgian mothers, AFAIK. So @Jerejj, you win :)
    While Jos isn’t poor, he’s not a multi millionaire, and Vandoornes family is middle class wealth at best

  7. Mr Brown, stop saying extremely so much. The only thing that is extremely is the performance. As in extremely poor performance.

  8. I hope McLaren make a huge leap forward next year. I hope they at least slot in right behind red bull. I also hope that Norris is as impressive as they say. I watch formula one for legends. Hamilton is my current reason for still watching and would like to know if there is another talent ready to pick up where he leaves off.

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