Lando Norris is being spoken about in British media circles as the heir apparent to Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1, the 18-year-old is confirmed as McLaren driver for 2019 but ex-F1 driver turned pundit warns the youngster that he needs to deliver or face the fate of Stoffel Vandoorne.
While almost everyone has hailed the fact that teenager Norris will race for McLaren next year, but Sky F1 expert Herbert cautioned, “If you don’t do the job, you’ll be out, and it’s damn hard, unless you have a load of money in your pocket, to come back in again.”
“You always have Stoffel Vandoorne’s story. Take Lando, you have to be very aware that it’s not a given that it’s an easy scenario and everything is going to work out for you.”
“Vandoorne had a brilliant career through the single-seater categories and gets to F1 and sadly it hasn’t happened for him. You have to capitalise on the chance. They are young, yes, but it doesn’t matter,” warned Herbert.
Unlike Vandoorne who he replaces at the Woking outfit in 2019, highly rated Norris does not lack for a penny or two, his father Adam Norris is worth over £200-million ($265-million) and has funded his son’s rise from karting to Formula 1.
Furthermore, Norris appears to be in good hands, apart from the comfort of his father’s substantial backing, he also has the luxury of having McLaren F1 chief Zak Brown on his management team.
The current scenario can be likened to the rise of Lewis Hamilton, who through the backing of Ron Dennis was groomed by McLaren through a junior programme, until the Briton made his grand prix debut with the team in 2007, winning the championship the following year – McLaren’s last drivers’ world title.
Brown spotted Norris some years ago, “I’ve been looking after Lando before I started at McLaren, before he came to McLaren.”
Next season for Brown’s charge there will be nowhere to hide, he will either fulfil the mighty expectations or simply fade away like the sad story of Vandoorne and many other great young talents that never made it when they were given the chance.
Herbert is wary of the pitfalls, but remains optimistic, “You’ve got to grab it by the horns and use the situation you have to your advantage. I hope it’s a sign, as young as they are, that they will be able to jump into a Formula 1 seat and do the job.”