McLaren Formula 1 Team reserve driver Lando Norris believes winning the FIA Formula 2 championship at first attempt would prove he is ready to make the step into Formula 1.
The 18-year-old won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship last year, as well as taking over reserve driver roles from former F1 world champion, Jenson Button. Along with his testing duties, Norris will contest the F2 Championship with Carlin.
Following his rise through the ranks in the junior categories, Norris has been heavily praised as the “star of the future” by McLaren and is tipped to make it to top tier of Motorsport. Scuderia Ferrari‘s junior driver Charles Leclerc will make his F1 debut with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team this year after a successful rookie title winning season in F2 last year, and Norris insists he will have to pull off a similar trait to prove his worth,
“I expect to win it,” said Norris to ESPN. “Leclerc’s done it, so if I want to beat him or prove I’m just as good, then I’m going to have to win. I think that’s the main thing. I don’t think there’s any point going for second or third.”
“Of course it’s hard to know what drivers are staying on for 2018 and doing another year and who’s going to be experienced and who’s new. So it all changes. But I think winning the championship would be the aim.”
Norris took part in the final F2 round in 2017 at Abu Dhabi with Campos Racing in preparation for a full season this year. He retired in the feature race but manage to finish thirteenth in the Sunday Sprint race.
The British teenager admits adapting to the F2 car and the Pirelli tyres proved more difficult than expected, and believes getting up to speed quickly will be the biggest challenge when the season starts in Bahrain.
“It’s a lot more power from anything I’ve driven before, apart from the Formula One car of course,”
“I think the tyres is one of the biggest things. With the Hankooks [European F3 tyre] you could push 99 per cent of the race. The Pirellis you can push for a couple of laps and then you’ve got to start saving. It’s not easy.”
“I’m just going from one kind of extreme to the other basically. I think the F2 tyres are probably one of the hardest things to adapt to, harder than the Formula One Pirellis were to get used to. So it’s a big challenge.”
Norris is currently racing in the Daytona 24 Hours with United Autosports alongside McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.