Norris becomes F4’s next F1 graduate

2015 British F4 Champion Lando Norris will next year join Formula 1, to partner Carlos Sainz at McLaren.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the British racer, with success in Formula Renault, European Formula 3 and this year in Formula 2.

Norris then joined McLaren’s Junior Driver Programme in early 2017, and this year has enjoyed Formula 1 practice outings at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.

“To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true,” Norris said.

“Although I’ve been part of the team for a while now, this is a special moment, one I could only hope would become reality.

Norris becomes the second FIA Formula 4 graduate to make the step to Formula 1, with former Italian Formula 4 Champion Lance Stroll the first to make the leap last season with Williams.

Locally, a raft of former Australian Formula 4 drivers are currently placed in the Super2 Series with the aim of racing in the Supercars Championship – these include Will Brown, Zane Goddard, Brenton Grove, Thomas Randle and Jack Smith.

In the upcoming Pirtek Enduro Cup, 2016 Champion Will Brown make his championship debut alongside Anton de Pasquale at Erebus Motorsport for the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600.

After making his national circuit racing debut with JRD in 2016, Tyler Everingham was this year crowned V8 Touring Car Series winner with MW Motorsport. It was a thrilling season in the third-tier V8 category, with fellow graduates Zak Best, Harley Haber and Harry Hayek also demonstrating strong results.

There’s plenty of representation aboard Porsche’s suite of categories, with Porsche junior Jordan Love racing in Carrera Cup, and the likes of Simon Fallon and Jimmy Vernon are front runners in the GT3 Cup Challenge.

2017 runner-up Liam Lawson has also enjoyed race wins in the ultra-competitive German Formula 4 Championship, where he currently sits third outright.

This year’s Australian Formula 4 Championship is shaping up to be the closest yet in its four year history. With only two rounds remaining, Jayden Ojeda leads teammate Ryan Suhle by 21 points and Cameron Shields by 27.

After the marathon Winton double-round last weekend, it’s a fast turnaround for teams with the penultimate round at Sydney Motorsport Park to take place on September 21–23.