August 20, 2018 / 8:45 PM / in 2 months

Motor racing-Norris to make F1 practice debut in Belgium with McLaren

LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - McLaren’s Formula One reserve driver Lando Norris will make his Friday practice debut at this week’s Belgian Grand Prix, the team said on Monday.

The 18-year-old Briton will take double world champion Fernando Alonso’s car for the first session at Spa-Francorchamps.

Norris is also competing in the Formula Two championship, where he is second overall and 12 points off the lead, with practice for that series starting 25 minutes after the end of the Formula One session.

Alonso has announced he is leaving Formula One at the end of the season and will be replaced by fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz next year.

Norris could take the place of Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne in the 2019 line-up but the jury is still out on whether he is ready for Formula One and giving him a couple of practice sessions will help clarify the situation.

Friday’s practice session will also be a useful comparison with Vandoorne, who arrived in Formula One after a dominant GP2 (now Formula Two) campaign but has so far failed to live up to his promise.

Norris tested for McLaren in Hungary before the August break.

“This is not only part of his ongoing development, but also the evaluation and performance evolution of the car,” said McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran in a team preview of Sunday’s race at Spa.

“We’ll be taking a strategic view race-by-race at where else this might be beneficial for us over the coming grands prix,” added the Brazilian. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Alison Williams)

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