Lando Norris will remain with Carlin for a fourth consecutive season when McLaren’s 2018 Formula 1 test and reserve driver graduates to the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Norris became the youngest ever winner of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship driving for the British team this year having first raced with Carlin in 2015 – Lando’s first season out of karts.
Norris, who only turned 18-years-old two weeks ago (13 Nov), sets out on the 24-race, 12-venue series that begins in April (Bahrain) aiming for yet more success after what has been a meteoric rise up the motor racing “ladder”. Having won the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula Renault Northern European Cup and McLaren Autosport BRDC Award last year, Lando became part of McLaren’s Young Driver programme in February before going on to score 19 podiums, including nine race wins – more than any other driver – on way to becoming the youngest FIA Formula 3 European Champion in history. Earlier this month, Norris was named as McLaren’s Formula 1 test and reserve driver for 2018 while the British Racing Drivers’ Club “SuperStar” made his F2 début with Campos Racing in Abu Dhabi yesterday (25 Nov) and contests another race later today (26 Nov).
Carlin did not compete in this year’s F2 series, previously known as GP2, having first joined the championship in 2011, finishing second in the Teams’ standings in both 2013 & ’14. Next year’s championship features an expanded 12-round calendar with each “double-header” event in support of a F1 Grand Prix which will fit perfectly with Lando’s added responsibilities for McLaren at these race events. Eight rounds of the junior racing series will be held in Europe with four “flyaway” events completing the calendar that will see an all-new car powered by a 620hp 3.4-litre turbocharged engine, racing next year featuring the same “halo” cockpit protection device that will be introduced in F1.
2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Calendar*
06-08 Apr: Sakhir, Bahrain
27-29 Apr: Baku, Azerbaijan
11-13 May: Barcelona, Spain
24-26 May: Monte Carlo, Monaco
22-24 Jun: Le Castellet, France
29 Jun-1 Jul: Spielberg, Austria
06-08 Jul: Silverstone, Great Britain
27-29 Jul: Budapest, Hungary
24-26 Aug: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
31 Aug-2 Sep: Monza, Italy
28-30 Sep: Sochi, Russia
23-25 Nov: Yas Marina, UAE
*Subject to final approval by the FIA WMSC
“I’m going into 2018 unquestionably aiming to achieve more success by winning races. But 2018 will also be a big learning year. Getting experience of the increased power, enhanced aerodynamics, the [Pirelli] tyres, the mandatory pit-stops and competing at new tracks like Bahrain, Baku and Sochi. It’s an educational year, I’ll be new to Formula 2 while Carlin is returning after a season out of the category. I’ll also be up against some very experienced F2 drivers. I’m hopeful it will work to our advantage that 2018 sees a newly designed [Dallara] car being raced for the first time since 2011. It’ll be my fourth year competing with Carlin. Trevor heads up a great operation at Carlin and I feel part of the ‘family’ there. It’s a friendly environment and one in which I feel very comfortable in.”
Trevor Carlin, Carlin Racing Director:
“We’re extremely pleased and proud to take Lando onto this next level of his career. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with him since his first steps in single seaters and in every season of his career so far. It’s a pairing that works and I think team and driver push each other to be better with every session and every race. In no way do we underestimate the challenge of a new car and level of competition in the FIA Formula 2 field but having claimed F4 and F3 titles together, continuing that level of championship winning success in F2 is obviously the aim.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director:
“Lando is a formidable competitor. He is a fast, consistent and intelligent racer who is developing all the time. His move to F2 is the logical next step in his career progression and complements his role as McLaren’s test and reserve driver in 2018.”