Zak Brown says McLaren needs to be careful in its management of Lando Norris and learn from mistakes the team has previously made with young drivers after announcing the 18-year-old in a Formula 1 race seat for 2019.

McLaren confirmed on Monday that current Formula 2 championship contender Norris would step up to its F1 line-up for 2019, partnering Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Norris will become the latest young driver to sign for McLaren after passing through its junior ranks, following in the footsteps of Stoffel Vandoorne, Kevin Magnussen, and Lewis Hamilton, all of whom were products of the team's junior programme.

However, neither Vandoorne nor Magnussen lasted more than two seasons at the team, while Sergio Perez - signed from Sauber for 2013 - was dropped after a single year, setting a concerning precedent.

McLaren Racing CEO Brown said the team had to ensure it was careful in its management of Norris, avoiding mistakes it had previously made by giving the young Briton time to make errors and learn the ropes in F1.

“What we need to do is manage him carefully, that we don’t get ahead of ourselves with comparisons to other drivers,” Brown said.

“You look at someone like [Charles] Leclerc, he was in trouble the first couple of races, maybe because expectations were too high and he made a couple of mistakes, and there were stories two races into the championship that maybe he isn’t who we thought he was. Now it looks like he’s going to Ferrari.

“So I think we have to be very careful not to set the bar and expectation so high that after Free Practice 1 in Australia, we’ve all come to conclusions on whether he’s the next superstar or not.

“We need to give him some time. He’s going take some time to settle in. He’s going to go to some tracks he’s never seen before. He’s going to have some shunts.

“That’s one of the things we brought in [sporting director] Gil de Ferran for, the human performance of the team and the drivers.

“Maybe historically we’ve not been great with young drivers because of the environment that we’re in.

“So we’re looking for Gil to make sure we learn from some of the mistakes we’ve maybe made in the past.”



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