McLaren will see reserve driver Lando Norris take part in the opening practice session ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix in Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 car at Spa-Francorchamps.

With Alonso confirming his F1 exit last week, McLaren’s sporting director Gil de Ferran has announced the move to give Norris his maiden grand prix weekend opportunity in the Spaniard’s MCL33.

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Norris, who joined McLaren as its junior driver in 2017, has taken part in a number of in-season tests and Pirelli tyre tests for the Woking-based team with this weekend marking his first race weekend outing.

McLaren’s sporting director, who helped replace Eric Boullier earlier this season, says it is a planned part of Norris’s ‘ongoing development’.

“This weekend will be the first time that our reserve driver Lando will drive the MCL33 during a race weekend, as he steps into Fernando’s car for FP1 on Friday,” de Ferran said. “This is not only part of his ongoing development, but also the evaluation and performance evolution of the car.

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

Norris will have an intense schedule at Spa-Francorchamps as he also contests the Formula 2 round with Carlin. The British driver currently sits second in the F2 drivers’ championship 12 points behind leader George Russell with four rounds remaining.

Last week Alonso announced he will leave F1 at the end of the season as he eyes up a potential move to IndyCar.

McLaren has signed Carlos Sainz Jr for 2019 with its second race seat likely to be filled by either Norris or Stoffel Vandoorne.

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