Norris to make FP1 debut with McLaren at Spa

McLaren Formula 1 reserve Lando Norris has been drafted in by the team for a Friday practice run at the Belgian Grand Prix - and could do more sessions later in the year.

Norris to make FP1 debut with McLaren at Spa
Listen to this article

The Formula 2 frontrunner will replace Fernando Alonso in FP1 at Spa.

After recently driving for McLaren in the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test, it is understood that Norris' latest runs are part of an ongoing evaluation about his potential to step up to a race seat with the team in 2019.

McLaren's star driver Alonso will not race in Formula 1 after this season, having announced his decision over the summer break to leave grand prix racing at the end of 2018.

Carlos Sainz has already been drafted in to replace Alonso, while McLaren is weighing up who is should take for its second seat.

Norris, currently competing with Carlin in F2, is among the contenders but McLaren needs to judge whether he is ready to make the leap to F1 or it would be better to commit to a second season in F2.

The run at Spa will give McLaren a much better idea of how the young Briton can perform amid the pressure of a grand prix weekend, and also give a proper comparison of potential against Alonso and Vandoorne.

Motorsport.com understands Norris could then drive another FP1 session the week after at Monza, where he would be handed Stoffel Vandoorne's car

"This is not only part of his ongoing development, but also the evaluation and performance evolution of the car," said sporting director Gil de Ferran.

"We’ll be taking a strategic view race-by-race at where else this might be beneficial for us over the coming grands prix. 

“Spa-Francorchamps has a well-deserved reputation as a racers’ circuit due to its historic significance and popularity among the drivers."

On the back of a disappointing campaign so far, Vandoorne is under pressure to raise his game if he wants to have any hope of retaining his seat next year – so a good showing against Norris would do his cause no harm.

Should the team decide that Norris needs another year of preparation away from F1, and that Vandoorne has not done enough, then its other option is believed to be Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon.

The Frenchman, who is currently racing for Force India, had looked set to move to Renault in 2019 with a deal all but agreed, but his hopes were dashed when the French car manufacturer pulled off a shock swoop for Daniel Ricciardo.

It is understood that Mercedes is pushing hard to find Ocon a competitive race seat in F1 for next year, with his current place at Force India under threat from Lance Stroll, whose father Lawrence is part of a consortium aiming to take over the Silverstone-based outfit.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL33

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL33

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

shares
comments
Perez close to extending Force India stay
Previous article

Perez close to extending Force India stay

Next article

Red Bull Racing confirms Gasly for 2019

Red Bull Racing confirms Gasly for 2019
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022