Norris wants to give McLaren ‘a headache’

Lando Norris is hoping to give McLaren "a headache" with their 2019 driver selection by winning the F2 World Championship this season.

The Brit won the first race of the F2 season in Bahrain before finishing fourth in the second race.

It was enough to see him take an early lead in the Championship but, if he was to go on to win the F2 title this year then rules dictate that he would not be allowed to compete in the series again in 2019.

"Obviously a headache would be nice! It’s good for me, and at least they’re thinking about what position I could be in," Norris said via Crash.Net.

"I think they’re very happy with Fernando and Stoffel at the moment. It’s in a position now where there’s a lot of development going on, and having a slightly more experienced driver is a help.

"The rate of development would be slightly faster than if I jumped in, because I’d have to get used to F1 a bit. So I think the position they’re in now, they’re reasonably happy with."

While an F2 title win could force McLaren's hand, Norris is remaining realistic about his chances of stepping up to F1 as early as next season.

"I guess it’s the first year where if I did win F2, I wouldn’t be able to do another year, and every year I’ve taken a step up into the next category. It could be the first year where I don’t get this opportunity to step up," Norris added.

"But I don’t think that’s something I need to be thinking about for now. I just need to be focusing on the job I have to do, winning Formula 2, and worrying about that later in the season."

The post Norris wants to give McLaren ‘a headache’ appeared first on PlanetF1.

McLaren’s 2019 driver line-up a ‘jackpot’

Date published: February 17 2018

The 2018 season isn’t even underway and already McLaren are being asked about next year’s line-up, which Zak Brown says is like “flicking the jackpot.”

This year McLaren will race Fernando Alonso, after the Spaniard re-signed in a multi-year contract, and Stoffel Vandoorne while Lando Norris is their official reserve driver.

Norris is keen to prove to McLaren this season that he deserves a race-seat, however, acknowledges that his path may be determined by Alonso and what he wants to do in 2019.

Either way, Brown reckons it is a “luxury situation” for McLaren to be in.

“There are a variety of different scenarios and it is like flicking the jackpot – it could be this, or this or that,” Crash.net quotes Brown as having said.

“We know what the scenarios are but we haven’t set any expectations yet because you would be predicting too early what you think might happen.

“We’re in a great position where we have three great drivers and two seats which is a luxury situation to be in so we will see how things go before figuring out what the future looks like.”

Last season Alonso won McLaren’s intra-team battle by 17 points to 13.

It was, however, in qualifying where he was most dominant as he put his MCL32 ahead of Vandoorne on 16 Saturdays.

Brown, though, reckons Vandoorne did well taking on the challenge that of Alonso’s ‘superstar’ status.

“They get equal treatment. Alonso gets a lot more of the publicity that doesn’t translate into any different effort in the garage from the engineers.

“Sometimes when you’ve got one part it will go to your more experienced driver. I don’t think that is any different to any other team. They have equal chance.

“I try to move around from garage to garage because I am sensitive to Fernando being such a superstar that you want Stoffel to know he’s got every bit as much support, which he does, but he handles it really well as he is very mature and never shows any signs or comments of that.

“I think he’s in a good place and is very headstrong.”

Norris’ McLaren future hinging on Alonso’s

Date published: February 6 2018

While Lando Norris would like to race for McLaren in 2019, he acknowledges that a possible race-seat could depend on whether Fernando Alonso wants to continue racing.

After McLaren announced that they had dropped Honda engines in favour of a swap to Renault, Alonso re-signed with the Woking team.

While initially reports hinted at a one-year deal, the double World Champion revealed that it is “a long-term contract and we’ll see how things go.”

And how things go could determined Norris’ future with the McLaren reserve driver keen to race come 2019.

“Obviously from that, I would say so, but I couldn’t really say what they are thinking,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I guess you have to wait for what Fernando wants to do and I think they are happy with Stoffel [Vandoorne] and it is quite early in his career.

“Obviously he can develop a lot and definitely improve as a driver going into 2018.

“So it is a bit of it is waiting to see what they are going to do but I can’t really say what else is going to happen – it is a bit hard for me.”

He added: “Obviously my aim is to be at McLaren. If I can’t get a drive here, then I have to look at other opportunities.

“If they say ‘We’re not really going to have a drive [available] for three years or something, then it is obvious that I am going to have to go elsewhere.

“But if it is just one year, I think I’ll still stick with McLaren and deal with one year out. The aim is to be with McLaren.”

Norris downplays Hamilton comparison

Date published: January 22 2018

Lando Norris insists he’s not bothered by comparisons to Lewis Hamilton as he tends not to focus on what others have to say.

This season Norris will race in Formula 2 along with his duties as McLaren’s official reserve driver.

The Brit is taking the step up to Formula 2 after winning last year’s Formula 3 championship to go with his Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, Toyota Racing Series and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 titles.

His impressive form in the junior series has seen many comparing him to Hamilton with the four-time F1 World Champion also claiming huge success in the lower leagues.

Norris, though, isn’t letting that go to his head.

“It gives me a bit of motivation, but not a huge amount,” the 18-year-old told Crash.net.

“It’s good maybe to think you’re along the same path and he made it to Formula 1, now a four-time World champion. If I can kind of continue, maybe I can do the same. That’s a bit of motivation.

“But apart from that, I don’t really try to think and dwell on what everyone else says. I’m only really doing it because I really enjoy it. It’s not like I don’t enjoy it and I’m just good at it, therefore I can hopefully make a career out of it.

“I enjoy doing it, and that’s why I want to do it. Therefore I just try to focus on what I’m doing, make the most of working with the team, getting to know everyone, then doing the best I can, hopefully winning, which then makes it even more fun to go out and do.

“I tend not to really think about what other people say. I’d rather just try and focus on what I’m doing, try and win basically.”

Wolff urges Williams to develop ‘next superstar’

Date published: December 27 2017

Toto Wolff feels Williams should hire one of the “really bright talented kids” to partner Lance Stroll next season, but says he is aware of the “financial reality”.

Felipe Massa’s retirement means the Grove-based squad have a driver vacancy to fill and they have confirmed they will reveal Stroll’s new team-mate early in 2018.

Russian Sergey Sirotkin is believed to be the front-runner to replace Massa thanks to his sponsors, but Robert Kubica is also in the running along with Daniil Kvyat and Paul di Resta.

Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff, though, says Williams should give an up and coming youngster a chance.

“If I were Williams today I would be bold and would put a George Russell or a Lando Norris in the car or [Charles] Leclerc… one of these really bright talented kids who have won championships in the past to develop the next superstar,” he told BBC Sport.

“But having said that there is a financial reality they live in and they have to find the right compromise.”

Norris unlikely to get any FP1 runs

Date published: December 13 2017

McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris is unlikely to get any track action during grand prix weekends next season, but Eric Boullier insists he will still have a “busy life”.

The 18-year-old has taken over the reserve duties from Jenson Button for the 2018 season, but he will still race for Carlin Racing in F2.

While teams lower down the grid often give their back-up drivers an FP1 run every now and then, McLaren have never been fans of the policy, but Boullier says that doesn’t mean Norris won’t have work to do.

“I hope that he will one day drive for McLaren – that’s why we took him on board,” Boullier told Formula1.com. “But first is F2 – a good sporting challenge for him.”

He added: “He will spend a lot of time in the simulator and he will have the opportunity to test. He was also pushing to get some FP1 outings, but I am not a fan of this. But he will still have a busy life!”

Norris looking to learn to from Alonso

Date published: December 11 2017

Lando Norris is hoping to make the most of his opportunity when he races alongside Fernando Alonso at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.

The McLaren test and development driver will be getting some first-hand experience with Alonso after being named in the United Autosports line-up for next month’s race.

“I’ll get to know a lot more about the work ethic of a Formula 1 driver,” Norris told the McLaren F1 website.

“Even though he’ll be driving a different car, he’ll still want to do as well as he can.

“He’ll particularly want to beat his team-mates, and he’ll work as hard as he can to improve the car. Wherever I can, I’ll try and take onboard everything he does.”

Not only does Norris want to learn from the two-time World Champion, but he is also eager to see how he matches up to him in terms of pace.

“Obviously, I’d like to do well,” he said. “But I think it’s a more of good opportunity to learn from Fernando. I definitely don’t want to let that opportunity go to waste.

“But, at the same time, I’d like to prove what I can do against him, especially in qualifying.

“Daytona is a team game, so I realise that we’ll be sharing the seat and working together. But I’d like to think there’ll be a bit of a competition about who can do a better job in practice and qualifying.

“Whoever does the best has done the best, but it’s still a great opportunity to learn not from him.”

Norris is also making the step up from F3 to F2 in 2018 and is looking forward to getting stuck into what he describes as a “tough challenge”.

He added: “The aim is to win [the title] but I think that’s going to be quite tough.”

“I think top three would be more realistic. But I said that this year [in F3] and ended up winning!

“The other day, I said if I wanted to prove I were as good as Charles Leclerc or better, then I needed to win.

“But F2 is a much tougher category than F3, with a lot more variables.

“It’ll be tougher to win as many races as in the past, but Leclerc has proved he can do it.

“It’s hard to say until I get to the first race. But I’m confident in what the [Carlin] team can do.”