F1 News - McLaren: British teenager Lando Norris to replace Stoffel Vandoorne
Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne is to leave McLaren at the end of the 2018 season, with Britain's Lando Norris replacing him.
Norris, 18, has been the team's reserve driver and took part in first practice sessions in Spain and Hungary this season.
Renault's Carlos Sainz will replace Vandoorne's team-mate Fernando Alonso, who is retiring from Formula 1.
Vandoorne is 16th in the championship and has no points in his past 10 races.
"The past two seasons we didn't achieve the success we'd hoped, but I want to thank everyone for the opportunities they gave me," said the 26-year-old, who finished 12th at the Italian Grand Prix.
"I intend to give it my all for the remaining seven races of this season and will announce my plans for next season in due course."
McLaren team boss Zak Brown added: "It's clear we haven't provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent."
Chief F1 writer Andrew Benson
The departure of Vandoorne from McLaren at the end of this season is no surprise in one sense - he has failed to match up to team-mate Fernando Alonso since joining the team in 2017.
But it is in another - Vandoorne was one of the most successful drivers in recent years in junior categories before his graduation and was widely regarded as one of the most promising new talents around.
So, the question remains: have his difficult two seasons at McLaren proved he was not quite up to the job, or is Alonso just that good?
Alonso is an all-time great and remains at the top of his game. And Vandoorne has been much closer to the two-time champion on pace than many of the Spaniard's former team-mates, including Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.
And the past two years at McLaren, with a difficult car and the end of an engine partnership with Honda and start of a new one in Renault, have not been easy. The team are in crisis - there is no other way of putting it.
It's quite possible that Vandoorne is better than a number of drivers on the grid but has just not been in a position to show it. As such, some in the paddock believe he deserves another chance.
Opportunities for 2019 are limited but they are there - at Toro Rosso and Sauber in particular.
Whether Vandoorne lands one remains to be seen.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
September 3, 2018 at 06:54AM
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