British teen takes chequered flag in ninth from back of grid on F2 début weekend
Lando Norris has been given the opportunity to drive a current McLaren Honda MCL32 at a Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (29 Nov). McLaren’s official Formula 1 test and reserve driver for 2018 had been due to drive the McLaren in Brazil earlier this month but it was cancelled due to safety concerns at the Interlagos circuit. It marks Lando’s second F1 test of the year, the BRDC SuperStar having clocked the second fastest time at the Hungaroring (2 Aug).
Lando, who won this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship, made his Formula 2 début at the 3.44-mile United Arab Emirates venue this weekend (25-26 Nov). The 18-year-old, who will undertake a full F2 season with Carlin next year, took the chequered flag in ninth position in today’s 45mins race having suffered engine failure early on in yesterday’s Feature Race in a one-off drive for Campos Racing this weekend.
The BRDC SuperStar, who was ultimately classified 13th having been handed a 5secs time penalty, only had a “seat fitting” 48hrs before he took to the track for the very first time last Friday and went into qualifying with less than 100-miles under his belt. Norris, meanwhile, is facing a busy start to 2018. Lando contests the three-day Roar (5-7 Jan) before making his début in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with United Autosports (25-28 Jan) and then participates in the annual Race of Champions (2-3 Feb) for the first time.
The event is run over two days and sees drivers pair up in teams based on nationality for the ROC Nations Cup on the first day then the Race Of Champions itself, staged in the King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia, the following day. The Race Of Champions is an annual competition, now in its 30th year, and brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, IndyCar, Le Mans, World Rally and the X Games.
“I’m massively looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the McLaren again – especially after the disappointment of not getting a run in Brazil. I completed 54 laps of the Abu Dhabi track in F2 over the past three days so at least I’m not going into the [F1] test completely ‘blind’. It’ll be good experience again after my run in Hungary in the summer. Qualifying was tough for the F2 Main Race, with basically a one lap ‘window’ to get the best out of the tyre which was completely new for me. In the race, the engine let go on the sixth lap. Today’s race was more fun and it was good to complete the race distance. Unfortunately, I was given a 5secs penalty, which I don’t agree with, which cost me a top-10 finish. Competing in the Race of Champions should be entertaining. I’ve watched it on the TV and it looks super cool with drivers jumping into the different cars.”