McLaren's latest recruit, British teenager Lando Norris, has said that he believes a fresh start for 2019 will be a good thing for McLaren. It was recently announced that he would partner Carlos Sainz at the team next year, with the duo replacing outgoing drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. This move will mark the first time since 2007 that McLaren will be without a world champion driver, and also the first time that both drivers have been changed since that season.
The team have not won a race since Jenson Button's victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2012, and are currently going through one of, if not the worst period of their illustrious history. Even though Norris made clear that he is disappointed not to be partnering Alonso next season, he concedes that a fresh start is the best thing for the team.
Norris said: “As much as I admire Fernando, and I loved working with him from Daytona all the way through McLaren, I think for the longevity of McLaren and helping them improve as a team together, I think having Carlos is another thing where we can really push each other together.
“I think Fernando, if he was here again next year, he would definitely help the team improve, but I think going throughout all the years, I think it is good teams have fresh starts every now and then. Especially with where McLaren are now. I don’t think it is a bad thing or a good thing that I am going with Carlos. I look forward to working with him. I have never spoken to him or met him, so I look forward to it.
“It is a shame because I really would have loved the opportunity to drive with Fernando. Hopefully I will in the future whether it is in Formula 1 or some endurance race. I would like to. But for McLaren and myself, I think it is the best thing.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing