With Brendon Hartley having a bad start to the year, McLaren’s 18-year-old reserve driver Lando Norris was offered a seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso. But McLaren turned down the approach of the Faenza-based team.
Toro Rosso approached McLaren’s Lando Norris
Norris, the Formula 2 championship leader after eight races, is also the reigning 2017 FIA Formula 3 European champion. The Briton has shown tremendous ability and a strong mentality. Norris said that Toro Rosso’s interest won’t “distract” him from his F2 duties or his reserve driver position with McLaren.
“My commitment is with F2 and with McLaren. Although the stories flattered me. I leave this sort of thing to my management,” he said. His talent is the obvious reason for Toro Rosso to have tried to land the Englishman. But McLaren seems to have bigger plans for the youngster.
With Fernando Alonso‘s F1 destiny hanging in the balance, it is logical for McLaren to protect Norris. But his chances for a seat in F1 for 2019 might be low, if Alonso decides to stay. And McLaren’s management maintains Stoffel Vandoorne is their second driver. So Norris will have to wait for his turn.
Hartley, on the other hand, is not being protected by his team. After 10 races with the team, the 2015 and 2017 World Endurance Championship winner has not produced good results. Even though he said to Motorsport.com he’s enjoying his current stint, Hartley admitted the level of pressure is high.
“I’m enjoying it. I have to remind myself why I’m doing it and why I’m enjoying it. There’s a lot of pressure involved. But I think that’s no different from any other sport when it becomes truly professional.”
Pierre Gasly (18 points) has clearly outperformed Hartley (1 point), so things aren’t great for the New Zealander. Luckily, he can improve.
2018 championship resumes this weekend with the Formula 1 Grand Prix Heineken Du Canada 2018 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
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