The Formula 2 front runner has impressed the Woking-based squad with his recent runs in free practice sessions and has won the battle to become Carlos Sainz’s team-mate.
The announcement about his plans comes shortly after McLaren revealed that it is not retaining Stoffel Vandoorne for 2019.
Norris has been part of the McLaren young driver programme since 2017, having won a host of junior motorsport categories in his career including last year’s European Formula 3 title. He is currently battling with Mercedes junior George Russell for the Formula 2 championship.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 3, 2018
Speaking about his promotion, Norris said: “To be announced as a race driver for McLaren is a dream come true. 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.
“I’d like to thank the whole team for this amazing opportunity and for believing in me. I’m also extremely grateful for the commitment McLaren has already shown in my development, allowing me to build my experience in a Formula 1 car in both testing and on Fridays during the past two race weekends.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown added: “We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.
“Lando is an integral part of our plan for rebuilding our Formula 1 operation for the future, and he has already developed a strong relationship with the team.
“In Lando and Carlos we have an impressive duo who, despite their relative youth, hold valuable experience in Formula 1 and with McLaren, and represent the next generation of McLaren drivers to lead the team forward.
“While our short-term focus is fixed on securing the best possible result for the remainder of the 2018 season, we’re also massively motivated by the opportunities that lie ahead.”
So fantastic news for Lando Norris. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase his talent in the pinnacle of motor racing and it’s going to be fascinating how he compares to his new McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz.
As for Stoffel Vandoorne, this is a disappointment and ends his two year season of difficult circumstances at McLaren.
Vandoorne will part ways with the Woking-based team after the final race of the season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
McLaren today confirms that Stoffel Vandoorne will leave the team after the end of the 2018 season. https://t.co/yIQonPAnwj
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 3, 2018
“We’re immensely thankful for Stoffel’s dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“He’s a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We’re proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as test driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.
“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he’s proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we’ve really enjoyed working with him.
“Of course, we would have loved to achieve more success during our time together, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he will always be a part of the McLaren family of grand prix drivers.
“For now, we look to the future and to the remaining grands prix in 2018, where I know both Stoffel and Fernando will be pushing hard to fight for as many points as possible before we close the curtain on this season.
“We wish Stoffel all the best in whatever direction he chooses to take next in his career, and we’ll be supporting him all the way. We will announce our full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course.”
Vandoorne, who has recently had to deny speculation he could be replaced before the end of the season, thanked McLaren for its prior support for his career in a parting statement.
“I’m very grateful to McLaren for investing their faith in me over the past five years,” Vandoorne said.
“While we haven’t achieved the success we’d all hoped for, I’ve really enjoyed the past two seasons racing for McLaren and I have a great relationship with everyone in the team.
“My time at McLaren has been a great chapter in my career and I’m thankful for the opportunity the team, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh have given me to gain valuable Formula 1 experience and develop as a driver.
“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.”
Best wishes to Stoffel Vandoorne. Fingers crossed he can land a decent seat in Formula 1 next season.
So all change at McLaren with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz forming the driver line-up in 2019. Out goes the double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. It’s going to be a fascinating to see how the young talent of Norris and Sainz can help move McLaren forward. Good luck!
Congrats @LandoNorris on becoming an f1 driver next year with @McLarenF1 . Should I welcome you or should we welcome each other to the team…?🤔😂😂Anyway lets get after it next year! 💪 pic.twitter.com/yL5xgi0x2p
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) September 3, 2018