Lando Norris heads in to the unknown next weekend (6-8 Apr) when the British teenager begins his quest for success in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship. The McLaren F1 test and reserve driver will be racing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir for the first time and with Carlin, the British team returning to the category after a one-year absence.
The 18-year-old has won the CIK FIA KF World Karting Championship (2014), MSA Formula (2015), Toyota Racing Series plus Formulae Renault NEC & EuroCup (all 2016) and FIA Formula 3 Championship (2017) titles in successive years. The BRDC SuperStar made his F2 début in the final two races with Campos Racing in Abu Dhabi last November and over the winter competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona and Race of Champions.
Norris completed six days of official pre-season F2 testing last month. At Paul Ricard (F), Lando set the fastest time while in Bahrain went 10th quickest, clocking up over 1,200-miles in the combined tests staged in varying weather conditions.
A field of 20 3.4-litre single-turbo charged Mecachrome engined new generation Dallara single-seaters are expected to contest the 32-lap Feature (Saturday) and 23-lap Sprint (Sunday) races respectively around the 3.36-mile BIC track. Saturday’s race will be the first of Norris’s racing career in which a mandatory pit-stop for a tyre change is required. A 45mins practice gets the action underway on Friday followed by a 30mins qualifying session to set the Feature Race grid positions. The starting line-up for the Sprint Race is determined by the finishing order of Saturday’s race, with the top 8 positions reversed.
Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 18.
“I’m going to Bahrain aiming for top-five finishes. Testing at Paul Ricard and in Bahrain went extremely well and we now have a better understanding of the new car. The team and myself learned a lot and we achieved what we needed to but there is still progress to be made. We’re not fully there with some things so still need to improve but I think that will come with more experience from the races. Compared to last year’s Dallara, the 2018 F2 car is slightly heavier while the engine is now turbocharged. It’s a ‘comfortable’ and nice car to drive. Managing the [Pirelli] tyres remains crucial. My pace in Bahrain was fairly good – I just need to find more consistency, putting it all together over a weekend. I’m really looking forward to the [mandatory] Feature race pit-stops. I didn’t get to experience it when I made my F2 début in Abu Dhabi because the engine blew up quite early. We have practiced the stops in both tests. The first time we’ll see the true potential of everyone will be in qualifying. Carlin have adapted very well and have done a good job. I really like the Bahrain track. I was there in 2013 for the karting world championships. I’ve been fairly busy over the winter with Daytona testing and the race itself then the Race of Champions plus plenty of training.”