Lando Norris: “I’m going to Bahrain aiming for top-five finishes”


Lando Norris races for Carlin in 2018
Credit: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT Images

Lando Norris will start his 2018 FIA Formula 2 campaign this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit aiming for top five finishes, with the British racer eyeing a sixth championship in just four seasons.

The eighteen-year-old won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship last year after winning the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup and Toyota Racing Series in 2016, with his first title coming in 2015 when he won MSA Formula.

He will race for Carlin again in 2018, a team that he has won both his first and last title with, and he feels he heads into the first race of the season with a lot of knowledge of the new Dallara F2 2018 after the two pre-season tests at Paul Ricard and Bahrain.

“I’m going to Bahrain aiming for top-five finishes,” said Norris, who is also the McLaren F1 Team’s third driver in 2018.  “Testing at Paul Ricard and in Bahrain went extremely well and we now have a better understanding of the new car.

“The team and myself learned a lot and we achieved what we needed to but there is still progress to be made. We’re not fully there with some things so still need to improve but I think that will come with more experience from the races.

“Compared to last year’s Dallara, the 2018 F2 car is slightly heavier while the engine is now turbocharged. It’s a ‘comfortable’ and nice car to drive. Managing the [Pirelli] tyres remains crucial.”

Looking back at the test at the same circuit, Norris felt his pace was ‘fairly good’, although he acknowledges now that he has to put it all together across the whole weekend.

The Briton will also be looking to make his first mandatory pit stop, having missed out on doing so during his début in Abu Dhabi with Campos Racing last November due to a technical issue that left him side-lined early on.

“My pace in Bahrain was fairly good – I just need to find more consistency, putting it all together over a weekend,” said the Briton.  “I’m really looking forward to the [mandatory] Feature race pit-stops.

“I didn’t get to experience it when I made my F2 début in Abu Dhabi because the engine blew up quite early. We have practiced the stops in both tests.”

Norris is excited to get his maiden Formula 2 campaign underway and is eager to find out just where Carlin stack up against the competition.

“The first time we’ll see the true potential of everyone will be in qualifying,” said Norris.  “Carlin have adapted very well and have done a good job.

“I really like the Bahrain track. I was there in 2013 for the karting world championships. I’ve been fairly busy over the winter with Daytona testing and the race itself then the Race of Champions plus plenty of training.”