Lando Norris is a name that quite a lot of people have heard of. The 17 year old is already a world champion, after scooping the Junior Karting Championship in 2014, aged 14. He has been blazing a trail in the junior categories, and now drives for Carlin in Formula 3. Hes won 4 championships in Formula 4, Formula Renault, and the Toyota racing series. It was this success and his natural talent that bagged him the Mclaren young driver’s award in 2016. The prize? A test in a old spec McLaren. Before the test even happened, Mclaren signed him to their young driver program. The same program that pushed Lewis Hamilton to fame.
Norris completed his prize drive in May, driving a 2011 car in Portugal. He has impressed so much so far, that Mclaren feel he is ready to take on a 2017 Formula 1 car. He has been announced as one of the drivers for the up coming test in Hungary, alongside Stoffel Vandoorne. This will be part of Norris’ process of gaining his Super Licence, needed to compete in Formula 1.
“I regard Lando as a fabulous prospect, He blew the doors off his rivals in not one but three highly competitive race series last year, then capped that by establishing himself as the clear winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.” said Zak Brown, Mclaren executive director. “It was an impressively mature performance, and we’ll be developing him this year as part of our simulator team, whereby he’ll be contributing directly and importantly to our Formula 1 campaign at the same time as honing and improving his technical feedback capabilities.”
Norris’ test debut will make him the youngest British driver to take part in an official F1 test. If he can also complete 300km, he will be well on his way to his super licence. The requirements to get a licence, is to amass 40 ‘SL Points’ over the last 3 year period. Lando currently has 36, however a top 5 finish in the F3 European Championship will see him achieve that. He also needs a minimum of 2 years of single seater racing under his belt, which he now has.
So will we see Lando in a race seat next season? If we do, it probably won’t be a Mclaren. Despite all the rumours that Alonso is about to leave the team, there is a good chance he is staying where he is. The potential for him to go to a team like Sauber, with backing from Mclaren of Honda like Pascal Wehrlein is possible. Norris currently has plans to race in the Daytona 24 hour next season, but nothing else has been confirmed.
Lando is a huge talent behind the wheel, and now he is in the right place to take that further. Zak Brown has said that he will be a future world champion, and with the results that Norris has shown so far, it is hard to disagree with him.
Words: Tom Gibson @WA10Tom