Cape Town - Lando Norris will drive the McLaren in Friday's first
practice for the Belgian GP as the team evaluates him with an eye for a
possible 2019 race seat.
McLaren announced on Monday that Norris, who is competing in
the Formula Two championship where he is second overall, will replace Fernando
Alonso in FP1 at Spa.
"This is not only part of his ongoing development, but
also the evaluation and performance evolution of the car," McLaren
sporting director Gil de Ferran said 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."
Friday's outing, likely to be the first of several before
the end of this season, will give McLaren an idea of how Norris, who last
tested the car at the post-Hungarian GP, fares up against Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Belgian's race seat is under threat after failing to
match Alonso in this year's championship with several sources suggesting Norris
is the favourite to replace Vandoorne if McLaren opted for an all-new line up
for next season.
The team has already announced Carlos Sainz as Alonso's
replacement for 2019.