Lando Norris believes the best move for his future would be to race for McLaren in 2019, but would be open to spending next year making FP1 appearances for the team before claiming a race seat in 2020.
The 18-year-old is currently second in the Formula 2 championship after having led the standings for much of the first part of the season, but hasn’t won a race since the opening round. Despite having previously been linked to a race seat if Fernando Alonso moves, it now appears that Alonso could be paired with Carlos Sainz next season, and Norris is considering what his options could be in 2019.
“It’s very difficult to say,” Norris said. “Especially being in the situation we are right now with no-one really knowing what Fernando wants to do next year. Obviously it’d be very nice to be in Formula 1, but at the same time, staying with McLaren, maybe it’s better to be saying ‘I want to be doing these FP1s, have more opportunities to drive in Formula 1’.
“If there is confirmation that I’d be able to have a seat in 2020, maybe that’s a better opportunity and a [better] situation to be in. Until everyone starts making decisions I don’t really know what to say.”
While he’s just 12 points behind F2 championship leader George Russell, Norris has occasionally struggled this season, but insists his difficulties would not be a reason to delay a potential F1 move.
“Not necessarily,” he said. “It depends what the situation is. If it was to happen, it would have to be like a thing that I’d need to do all the FP1s… because I think in this type of era with Formula 1, it’s not easy to jump in and be quick away. There’s a lot of things, especially compared to Formula 2, which are very tricky to get used to. And I presume for a lot of drivers, even for myself, takes time.
“So doing all these FP1s you’re learning a lot more about the car, about the team, which direction they’re going, just puts you in a better situation for 2020 but that’s just one circumstance, plenty of other things that could happen, I don’t know.”
Norris has been linked with a move to Toro Rosso in return for technical director James Key after the Red Bull junior team made an approach earlier this year. However, RACER understands such a move is unlikely as Red Bull would not settle for a one-year loan, and Norris admits he’d rather race for McLaren than elsewhere.
“Of course I could see it, I would like to see it, that I could just be in Formula 1,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s still the way to go. I think ideally I’d be with McLaren next year, that’s the perfect situation, but it’s not up for me to decide, it’s up to the bosses and Fernando and whoever makes all the decisions.
“I just have to focus on Formula 2, doing the best job I can in that, hopefully winning as that’s the best thing I can do, having good days like [testing in Hungary] just to try and persuade it more my way. But until then I just have to keep my head down.”