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Norris will replace Vandoorne as McLaren’s driver for the upcoming F1 season

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Norris will replace Vandoorne as McLaren's driver for the upcoming F1 season
McLaren F1 driver Vandoorne at a press conference in Stavelot, Belgium, 23 August 2018. Photo: Reuters

Young British driver Lando Norris will race McLaren in Formula One next year after the start of the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne season, the team said on Monday.

This means that McLaren will start next season with a completely new line-up, as Spain’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has already announced his departure from the team and will be replaced by his compatriot Carlos Sainz from Renault.

Norris, 18, is a reserve driver for McLaren and participated in his first practice sessions in Belgium and Italy this season.

“Being announced as a McLaren racing driver is a dream come true,” said Norris, who is currently second in the Formula Two championship. “Although I’ve been part of the team for a while, this is a special moment,” he added.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown praised Norris as a “full of potential” driver and added that the investment made in his development is well deserved.

“We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, whom we deliberately kept within the McLaren team for exactly that reason,” Brown said. “We know he’s fast, he’s a fast learner, and he’s got a mature head on his young shoulders.”

Vandoorne has had problems during his two years at McLaren and his best result was a seventh place finish in Malaysia and Singapore last year. He currently ranks 16th in the drivers’ standings with eight points.