The 18-year-old told media including RaceFans how was offered a drive for the 2019 F1 season on the eve of Sunday’s race, after impressing the team two days earlier.
“And then he said ‘I’ve got something to tell you’ and then he basically said it. I had the whole journey home to think about it. Just a cool thing but as soon as it gets announced officially, that’s when it feels even better. It was a cool moment.”
Norris admitted he had doubts over whether he would get the chance to drive for McLaren following reports other drivers were being considered for the team’s second seat alongside Carlos Sainz Jnr.
“With all the speculation of Ocon, Perez, it kind of twisted it a tiny bit, which I think was there plan. But even for me I think they’d rather not say anything, just to leave me focusing on whatever I had to do during the weekend. I didn’t see it coming especially that quickly.”
McLaren Racing CEO said Norris’s performance in Friday’s wet practice session sealed the deal.
“We’ve been watching him mature in and out of the car. The free practice runs were kind of the final test, if you want to call it that, less about speed because we were confident of that, just how would he take to the environment of being out on the track with the big boys.
“He did extremely well, was extremely quick at Spa, was very quick in Italy. We brought him in halfway through to preserve tyres so the final time difference isn’t representative. He and Fernando were swapping times. We’re convinced he’s a star of the future.”
Brown said the team’s new driver line-up of Norris and Sainz make an ideal pairing for the team given the changes going on at McLaren.
“We’re in rebuilding mode, to have two extremely quick young drivers, one with a decent amount of experienced because he will be going into his fifth year, with someone who’s inexperienced was a good combination for us rebuilding, when we look at it over a five-year horizon.
“So for all those reasons we pretty easily came to the conclusion that Lando was the driver we wanted and it was just about him going through the due diligence process and have him pass all these tests on the way and confirm what our instinct was when we brought him on a couple of years ago.”
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2019 F1 season
- McLaren Racing reports reduced £71 million loss in 2019
- Kvyat: Hockenheim podium last year was “my biggest achievement” so far
- How the FIA’s new encrypted fuel flow meter targets Ferrari’s suspected ‘aliasing’ trick
- “He smashed my office door”: 23 must-see moments from ‘Drive to Survive’ season two
- ‘I should have done a better job. There’s things that I know I can do better’