At 19 years and 124 days old Lando Norris will become the third-youngest driver in history to start a Formula 1 race, when he makes his McLaren debut at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.
However, as Max Verstappen has recently proven, age is but a number. The motorsport proverb, ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ has never been truer. Despite his tender years, Norris is exactly the kind of driver McLaren needs right now.
After countless clues growing more and more obvious as launch day drew closer, McLaren somewhat spoilt the surprise for the moment that they finally revealed a primarily orange MCL32. Despite many being sceptical of the livery, I’m a fan. Call it a Spyker, Arrows or Marussia, it’s a flash of colour on the 2017 grid and that should be welcomed.
McLaren will hope the new look can brighten up the mood at Woking following several seasons of woe. The once great team enter a critical season in 2017. They missed a trick at the last regulation change and need to be quick out of the blocks this time to avoid a repeat performance.
Don’t bet against this kind of McLaren resurgence this season. This is a new look team for 2017 and here’s why.
It’s surely sub-optimal and will most likely prove regrettable. “Ronspeak” has been a paddock phenomenon for decades, yet with today’s news that Ron Dennis has relinquished his role as McLaren Chairman, the Dennis Dictionary will no longer be required.
With his fifth consecutive victory and second of the 2016 campaign, Nico Rosberg’s rich vein of form continued in Bahrain. Despite losing out to teammate and chief rival Lewis Hamilton on Saturday afternoon, Nico dominated Sunday’s race after the Briton was heavily compromised by another poor start, followed by contact with Valtteri Bottas at the turn one pressure point. Recovering to finish third, Mercedes’ inter-team battle currently sees Rosberg a substantial 17 points ahead having recorded the maximum so far.
Earlier this week, Kevin Magnussen sparked speculation regarding both his and the similarly McLaren-backed Stoffel Vandoorne’s future prospects, with the Dane admitting; “Stoffel is doing a good job – he deserves to be in F1. There’s something wrong if he doesn’t.” With Vandoorne carving a pre-eminent figure in GP2, leading the championship by a commanding 44 points, McLaren could find themselves making tough decisions this winter as they have too many drivers for too few spaces in the team.
“Will Vandoorne have an F1 drive for 2016,” was the question that I posed to my Twitter followers on Friday. As with all good debate questions, the complexity of the argument was evident in the responses.