McLaren recognises that Lando Norris will make some rookie mistakes in 2019, according to team boss Zak Bown. The 19-year-old will take part in his F1 debut later this year at the Australian Grand Prix for the Woking squad, who granted him the 2019 seat in place of Stoffel Vandoorne.
After winning the 2017 European Formula 3 championship, Norris graduated to Formula 2 in 2018. However, he lost out on the title by a large margin, despite finishing the year in second place.
But McLaren viewed his year successful enough to promote its junior driver into the full-time seat alongside Carlos Sainz, who joins from Renault. While McLaren will leave exceptions out for Norris' mistakes, Brown still expects him to race hard against Sainz.
"We are going to give Lando time. In our expectations, I think it’s a high-pressure environment and the first thing that everyone does in Formula 1 is compare to their teammate. We know Carlos is an extremely quick, experienced race car driver.
"Your first measure is ultimately against your teammate so we expect them to race each other hard, race each other cleanly and for sure they need to get the measure of each other from time to time. That will be the first test and then we want to make sure we see them develop.
"We recognise he’s going to make some rookie mistakes, we recognise he’s going to be at race tracks he’s never been to before and we’re in a rebuilding process. It’s one thing to jump into a team that’s rebuilding versus maybe jumping into a championship calibre car so we know he’s got a difficult task ahead and we’re going to be patient, work with him, as I think we did with Stoffel.
"Stoffel raced two years with us so I think McLaren has a pretty good history of sticking with their drivers. Obviously some have done one-year terms but that’s not our expectations on an outcome with Lando."