Lando Norris Says Year Away From McLaren Is An Option for 2019

by Aaron Gillard
Lando Norris - McLaren Renault

McLaren F1 Team reserve driver Lando Norris says making his Formula 1 debut with a different team could be an option for 2019 but delaying his graduation may still be the best solution.

The FIA Formula 2 title contender said at the beginning of the year that he would be happy to sit on the sidelines if it meant he would get drive with McLaren for 2020.  Norris is in contention for a seat at the Surrey based team but has also gained the attention of Red Bull with Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda wanting his services for 2019.

Toro Rosso applied for his services earlier in the season, which was rejected by McLaren as they did not want to ways with Norris completely, but suggestions have been made that Norris could be used as a trade to acquire the services of James Key as their technical director.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Norris was asked if he could see himself racing at another team and then return to McLaren, in which Norris replied: “Of course I can see it.

“I would like to see it that I can just be in F1, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the way to go. Ideally I’ll be with McLaren next year, that’s the perfect situation.

“But it’s not up to me to decide, it’s up to the bosses, and Fernando (Alonso), and whoever makes all the decisions.”

McLaren have not confirmed their 2019 driver line-up, with Fernando Alonso yet to announce his plans and Stoffel Vandoorne‘s future in doubt after a difficult start to the season.  Regarding on whether Norris wants to race in F1 next year or wait until 2020, the British driver says that the 2020 options seems the better opportunity.

“It’s difficult to say, especially with us being in the situation of nobody really knowing what Fernando wants to do next year,” said Norris.  “Obviously, it would be very nice to be in F1. But at the same time, staying with McLaren, maybe it’s better to say I want to be doing FP1s and more opportunities to drive in F1.

“So if there is a confirmation of a season in 2020, maybe that’s a better opportunity and a better situation to be in.”

Norris trials current Formula 2 championship leader George Russell by 12 points with four rounds remaining. The Carlin Motorsport driver hasn’t tasted victory since the very first race of the season, winning the feature race in Bahrain.  With Norris one of the favourites for the championship, The British driver says that the switch from Formula 2 to Formula 1 is not as easy as it seems.

“In this era of Formula 1 it’s not easy just to jump in and be quick straightaway, especially compared to Formula 2,” he said.  “I would presume for a lot of drivers, even myself, it takes time. So doing all these FP1s, you learn a lot more about the car, the team, what direction they are going in.

“Of course it will put me in a better position for 2020, but that’s just one circumstance. There’s plenty of other things that could happen.”

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