European Formula 3 champion Lando Norris has been promoted to McLaren’s test and reserve driver.
The McLaren Autosport Award winner joined the team’s young driver programme in February and completed his first official F1 test in August.
In his new role, Norris will take part in McLaren’s 2018 testing programme, beginning with the post-race tyre test at Interlagos next weekend. He will also attend races and will be drafted in if Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne cannot drive.
“To now get the chance as an official test and reserve driver in 2018 is another vital step toward my goal of one day racing in F1,” said Norris.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to become further integrated within the McLaren ‘family’ and that starts next week with a tyre test at Interlagos. I’ll continue to work hard and my aim is to broaden my skills.
“I have two excellent tutors in Fernando and Stoffel and the intention is to help with the team’s efforts to get back to the front.”
“We feel it’s very important to have a fully enrolled test and reserve driver within the team,” said McLaren Racing Director, Eric Boullier.
“Lando will attend grands prix and become a fully integrated member of the team. Lando is somebody who arrives with a very high level or ability, ambition, and application. It’s our job to develop and fine-tune his focus as we increase his understand of how a F1 team operates, and how a modern grand prix car works.
“There will be plenty of opportunity to observe, learn and participate throughout 2018, and we want to make sure Lando is fully prepared, if needed to step into Fernando or Stoffel’s shoes at a moment’s notice.”
Norris claimed the European F3 title last month in only his first year in the series, bringing Prema Powerteam’s domination in the championship to an end.
The title follows championship victories in the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC last season, and in the 2015 MSA Formula.
Next season, the teenager will race in the Daytona 24 Hours with Alonso and Phil Hanson, before competing in either Formula 2 or the Japanese Super Formula.
Feature image credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images