Toro Rosso wants to replace Brendon Hartley and was keen on getting Lando Norris as his replacement, but McLaren blocked their move.
Norris is contracted to the Woking team and is currently the championship leader in F2. According to Press Association Sport, Toro Rosso approached the British racer to sign him to the team and wanted him to start racing from the Austrian GP. But McLaren has a contract with the 18-year-old driver and refused to loan him out.
On several occasions, McLaren has claimed they have great choices for the 2019 driver line up. But they have not specified what kind of role Norris might get next year. The young Brit make taken over Fernando Alonso’s race seat if the Spaniard decides to pursue other series.
Alonso will be racing his 300th GP this weekend. The Spaniard has shown more interest in pursuing other series like Le Mans and IndyCar as he believes F1’s predictability has made it very boring.
There are also doubts about Stoffel Vandoorne’s future also since the youngster has not shown any progress or aggressiveness of a champion in making. McLaren does not want to lose a promising protégé like Norris to any other team and may offer him the Belgian’s seat next year.
McLaren released the following statement to Press Association Sport: “We are not surprised that other teams approach our drivers. They clearly believe they are as talented as we do.”
Norris is considered to be the Lewis Hamilton of his generation. He won the F3 series last year and was signed as the reserve driver for McLaren for 2018. He holds a 27 point advantage over his nearest F2 rival and impressed many with his debut performance in the series at Bahrain in April.
Talking about the Toro Rosso offer, Norris said: “I’m flattered by the stories but I’m focussed on F2 and committed to McLaren. I leave this sort of thing to my management.”