McLaren F1 Team could be offering a opportunity to one of it’s juniors drivers next year to race with the Formula 1 team if they win the FIA Formula 2 championship this year, according to McLaren’s test and development driver Nyck De Vries.
De Vries and Lando Norris are McLaren Young Drivers and will be competing in Formula 2 this season, which starts this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit. With De Vries racing with Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing, the team Charles Leclerc raced with to last year’s F2 title whilst Norris will debut his F2 career with Carlin Motorsport, who make their return to the series.
Both Young Drivers are considered favourites for the title this season but according to Dutch publication Hp De Tijd, De Vries has revealed that if he wins the Formula 2 championship this season, he will get a seat within F1 as stated on his contract and in person by Zak Brown.
“If I become the Formula 2 champion in 2018, then I will get a seat in Formula One.” said De Vries.
“It’s spelled out in my contract in black and white and that’s what Zak told me.”
McLaren have hired drivers who won F1’s support series in the past with current driver Stoffel Vandoorne being the latest, having winning the GP2 Series back in 2015 and earning a drive in 2017.
But the last time a GP2 champion has jumped straight into a McLaren seat was Lewis Hamilton, who won the Series in 2006 and earned a drive for 2007, where he was one point short on winning the title in his first season.
The twenty-three year old has also said the conditions apply for Norris as well but feels the young British driver has an advantage in terms of his relationship with Brown.
“The same conditions apply to Norris. Lando has some advantage, as his father has a good relationship with Zak and he pays for his career, but if I meet expectations in 2018, then I will be in Formula One next season.”
“Everything is in my hands.”
If the scenario does play out, either Vandoorne or Fernando Alonso will have to leave the team in order to make way for the young drivers. Both drivers are on one year contracts with the Woking team but it is unclear where Alonso’s future lies within F1, having agreed to compete in the World Endurance Championship with Toyota for the 2018/19 Super Season.