There’s a new kid on the F1 starting grid next season as McLaren get ready to give 18-year-old Lando Norris his track debut.
The hype and media circus around the F1 circuit is unphasing for Norris.
He has travelled with McLaren for a while and currently drives for them in F2, where he is in second place in the driver’s championship.
“Rule number one is: Beat your team-mate. Apart from that, it is going to be a tough year,” says Norris.
“We are not going to be winning, or competing against Ferrari and Mercedes. I would like to think we can make a step forward from where we are.”
Norris will replace Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, who will leave the team at the end of the season.
Vandoorne leaves after failing to keep up the pace on the track after trailing in the slipstream of team mate and double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso for two years.
Alonso is also leaving to be replaced by Carlos Sainz.
“As much as I would have loved to partner Fernando, as much as I admire him and loved working with him, for the longevity of McLaren and helping them improve, having Carlos we can push each other a lot together,” said Norris.
“Fernando would definitely help the team improve but it is good that teams have fresh starts every now and again. I don’t think it’s a bad or good thing I’m going against Carlos.”
New faces in the driving seats should be a good move for McLaren, says Norris.
“They need two young drivers willing to say: ‘We don’t need to win; we don’t want to win within the first two years of joining the team.’
“That is a realistic goal. We are not going to be winning next year or probably the year after. It will probably be a few years.”
“I want to say I am better than the other drivers, but I still have to prove that.
“As long as I do a good job and put all my effort into proving I am worth it, everything should be fine.
“I am just hoping whatever I do is going to be good enough. I want to be with McLaren and I want to win with McLaren. I don’t think that is going to be next year, so it is more of a longer project.”