McLaren look to the future with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz
"He is going to be a very exciting future star," predicts Zak Brown as McLaren replace Stoffel Vandoorne with British teenager
Last Updated: 03/09/18 7:01pm
McLaren believe they have their driver line-up for the future after naming Lando Norris as Carlos Sainz's 2019 team-mate.
Norris, 18, and Sainz, 23, are set to form the youngest pairing on the grid next season, replacing incumbents Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, after the British teenager signed a 'multi-year agreement' with McLaren.
Sainz was hired last month as a replacement for Alonso.
Although 2019 will be the first season in over a decade when McLaren have not had a world champion driver on their books, the team opted against pursuing 2007 title winner Kimi Raikkonen, who is expected to be released by Ferrari, in order to secure a driver line-up for next year and beyond.
"We are looking to the future in a rebuilding mode," McLaren boss Zak Brown told Sky Sports.
"We wanted two drivers who we felt could be here a long time. Kimi is at a different stage in his career. We got the guy we wanted."
Norris has impressed during several test and practice outings for McLaren over the last twelve months, with Brown suggesting that the final part of his application was his successful debut run in Friday practice at Spa two weeks ago.
"We are incredibly excited," said Brown. "I think he is going to be a very exciting future star
"He's much like Fernando, he just wants to race cars. That's all he is focused on. He's won in everything he has competed and he's very mature for his age.
"When we put him into free practice, it was less about whether he was fast enough, we had no doubts about that, but more about how he took to the environment. He did really well."
Alonso and Vandoorne will finish the season at McLaren, although it is likely Norris, driving a McLaren car this week in a tyre test for Pirelli, will make several more Friday practice outings before the season's end.
From Nando to Lando: The social media reaction
Thanks to every single person who’s been a part of this so far. 2018 isn’t over, I want one last donut before this chapter is out 😏— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) September 3, 2018
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