McLaren F1 Team boss Zak Brown has warned about building up too much hype about new McLaren driver, Lando Norris.
Norris finished second in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 World Championship last year and was rewarded with a full-time McLaren drive.
He partners Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. in a new look McLaren line-up. It’s the first time since 2007 the team have changed both their drivers over winter.
Norris joins a McLaren team still rebuilding following their disastrous partnership with Honda and Brown warns that Norris may take time to match the speed of Sainz.
“Lando clearly is extremely talented, we’ve seen him in our race car a good amount now and what we need to do is nurture him, manage expectations internally and externally, and give him the equipment to show his talent.
“We know Carlos is an extremely quick and experienced race car driver so your first measure is against your team mate.
“We expect them to race each other hard, race each other cleanly, and for sure, they need to get the measure of each other from time to time.
“He recognises he’s going to make some rookie mistakes, we recognise he’s going to have some race tracks he’s never been to before. And we’re in a rebuilding process.
“So it’s one thing to jump into a team that is rebuilding compared to jumping into the championship calibre car.
“He’s got a difficult team and we are going to be patient with him.”
Brown is aware of the cruel environment that is Formula 1 for young drivers and hopes Norris can follow Charles Leclerc rather than the driver he is replacing, Stoffel Vandoorne.
“I do think Formula 1 can be a pretty cruel environment, if you look at Leclerc, I remember there was commentary after the first two or three races of whether he should still be in Formula 1.
“And now he’s driving for Ferrari.
“So I think what we need to do is manage expectations, not after three races pass judgement, which we as a sport are always pretty quick to do.”
Mclaren brought in Gil de Ferran midway through the 2018 season and Brown believes that will help Norris so he doesn’t struggled the same way as Vandoorne.
“We don’t want to replicate that where we may have got that wrong or contributed to that lack of success.
“One of the things that we recognised is I think we need some additional racers in the McLaren family.
“One of Gil’s primary roles is to make sure that everyone gels, including the driver.
“So he’ll be spending time both with Lando and Carlos making sure that we give them the best environment to work in.”