Lando Norris will make his Formula 1 debut with McLaren in 2019 after being announced as Stoffel Vandoorne’s replacement.

Following the confirmation that the Belgium driver would leave the Woking-based team at the end of 2018, Norris will step up from his test and reserve role from next season on a multi-year deal. Norris will partner the already-announced Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Norris, who becomes the second British driver on the F1 grid for 2019 alongside Lewis Hamilton, has hailed the deal ‘a dream come true’.

“To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true,” Norris said. “Although I’ve been part of the team for a while now, this is a special moment, one I could only hope would become reality.

“I’d like to thank the whole team for this amazing opportunity and for believing in me. I’m also extremely grateful for the commitment McLaren has already shown in my development, allowing me to build my experience in a Formula 1 car in both testing and on Fridays during the past two race weekends.

“For the remainder of 2018, my focus remains firmly on the Formula 2 championship. My objective is to win the title before joining McLaren full-time, which will be tough, but I will fight as hard as I can for the remaining four races.

“I’ll also be working closely with McLaren at every opportunity to learn as much as possible from the drivers, engineers and mechanics to give myself the best preparation ahead of next year.”

Norris joined the McLaren ranks at the start of 2017 as test and simulator driver having caught the attention of multiple F1 teams with his rapid rise in the junior championships winning the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and the Toyota Racing Series Championship all in 2016.

The 18-year-old followed up his impressive 2016 by winning the FIA European Formula 3 championship in his rookie campaign last year and is currently second in the Formula 2 drivers’ standings in his maiden season in the F1 feeder series.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the huge potential Norris holds has seen him secure his F1 rookie campaign and is delighted with the team’s all-new driver line-up.

“We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason,” Brown said.

“We already know he’s fast, he learns quickly, and has a mature head on his young shoulders. We see much potential for our future together. The investment we have made in his budding career with simulator development and seat-time in the car has been well-deserved, as he has continued to prove his abilities both behind the wheel and in his work with the engineering team.

“Lando is an integral part of our plan for rebuilding our Formula 1 operation for the future, and he has already developed a strong relationship with the team.

“In Lando and Carlos we have an impressive duo who, despite their relative youth, hold valuable experience in Formula 1 and with McLaren, and represent the next generation of McLaren drivers to lead the team forward.

“While our short-term focus is fixed on securing the best possible result for the remainder of the 2018 season, we’re also massively motivated by the opportunities that lie ahead.”



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