Lando Norris replaces Jenson Button as McLaren's reserve driver

17-year-old Briton replaces Jenson Button in role in 2018

3y ago

Lando Norris has been confirmed as McLaren's official test and reserve driver for 2018.

The Briton, who turns 18 next Monday, replaces 2009 world champion Jenson Button in the role and will be McLaren's first option to deputise for race drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne next season.

Norris won the European Formula 3 championship last month, emulating four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"I'm so excited to be joining McLaren as test and reserve driver for 2018. The last 12 months have been an incredible journey for me - I've enjoyed every single minute - and this is just an amazing way to bring the year to an end," Norris said.

"I'm really looking forward to helping the team, starting next week with the tyre test at Interlagos, and I will work harder than ever to learn and develop across the next year.

"I have two excellent teachers in Fernando and Stoffel, and I will do my best to help with the team's efforts to get back to the front.

"I'm still working hard to finalise my own racing programme for 2018 - we're close on a number of different fronts, but not quite there yet. I hope to be able to announce something shortly."

Norris joined McLaren's Young Driver Programme in February and his impressive rise through the lower formulae has seen him tipped as a grand prix star of the future.

On his first official day in an F1 car at August's Hungary Test, Norris posted the second-fastest time, only behind four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

His time was better than any Alonso and Vandoorne had managed over the Hungarian GP weekend, albeit on the ultrasofts which were not available at the race, and prompted McLaren racing director Eric Boullier to label Norris as a "star of the future".

It was also confirmed at the Mexican GP that Norris will partner Alonso and Phil Hanson at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.

"Lando is an outstanding young talent. Today's announcement is thoroughly deserved, and underlines the incredible high regard in which we hold his abilities," said McLaren executive director Zak Brown.

"He is undoubtedly carving himself a reputation as one of the very best up-and-coming single-seater drivers in the world.

"His summer test for McLaren was also remarkably impressive, and was further proof that he is ready to step up and take on a role of this size, scope and responsibility."

Boullier added: "There will be plenty of opportunity to observe, learn and participate throughout 2018, and we want to make sure Lando is fully prepared, if needed, to step into Fernando or Stoffel's shoes at a moment's notice."

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Comments (3)

  • So what is Jenson doing?

      3 years ago
    • I think he is going to race in Super GT in Japan next year. He raced in the Suzuka 500 this year and absolutely loved it. He is, apparently, also considering some rallycross opportunities, but I recon he will end up in Japan

        3 years ago
    • Nice! Sound cool

        3 years ago