Bristol racer Lando Norris will remain with Carlin for a fourth consecutive season as McLaren’s 2018 Formula One test and reserve driver graduates to the 2018 FIA Formula Two Championship.
Norris became the youngest ever winner of the FIA Formula Three European Championship driving for the British team this year, having first raced with Carlin in 2015 – his first season out of karts.
The 18-year-old sets out on the 24-race, 12-venue series that begins in Bahrain next April aiming for yet more success after what has been a meteoric rise up the motor racing ladder.
Having won the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula Renault Northern European Cup and McLaren Autosport BRDC Award last year, Norris became part of McLaren’s Young Driver programme in February before going on to score 19 podiums, including nine race wins – more than any other driver – on his way to becoming the youngest FIA Formula Three European Champion in history.
Earlier this month, Norris was named as McLaren’s Formula One test and reserve driver for 2018 while the British Racing Drivers’ Club “SuperStar” made his F2 début with Campos Racing in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Carlin did not compete in this year’s F2 series, previously known as GP2, having first joined the championship in 2011, finishing second in the teams’ standings in both 2013 and 2014.
Next year’s championship features an expanded 12-round calendar with each double-header event in support of an F1 Grand Prix which will fit perfectly with Norris’ added responsibilities for McLaren at these race events.
Eight rounds of the junior racing series will be held in Europe with four flyaway events completing the calendar that will see an all-new car, powered by a 620hp 3.4-litre turbocharged engine, racing next year featuring the same halo cockpit protection device that will be introduced in F1.
Norris said: “I’m going into 2018 unquestionably aiming to achieve more success by winning races. But 2018 will also be a big learning year. Getting experience of the increased power, enhanced aerodynamics, the (Pirelli) tyres, the mandatory pit- stops and competing at new tracks like Bahrain, Baku and Sochi.
“It’s an educational year, I’ll be new to Formula Two while Carlin is returning after a season out of the category. I’ll also be up against some very experienced F2 drivers. I’m hopeful it will work to our advantage that 2018 sees a newly designed (Dallara) car being raced for the first time since 2011.
“It’ll be my fourth year competing with Carlin. Trevor heads up a great operation at Carlin and I feel part of the family there. It’s a friendly environment and one in which I feel very comfortable in.”