McLaren-Honda have announced that talented young British driver Lando Norris will become a part of its junior programme this year.

17-year-old Norris is one of the rising stars of motorsport and is already being tipped as a potential future F1 champion. In 2013 he became the youngest ever winner of the World Karting Championship and he won the British MSA F4 series in 2015, his first year of racing single-seaters.

He continued his form and enjoyed a sensational year of racing in 2016, when he won the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand and then dominated in Formula Renault 2.0, winning championships in both the Eurocup and the NEC (Northern European Cup).

Norris was the class of Formula Renault 2.0 in 2016
Norris was the class of Formula Renault 2.0 in 2016

He was given the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for his efforts, and now his talent continues to be rewarded with a place on McLaren’s junior team.

In his short career so far he’s established himself not only as a fast driver but also a great racer, as you can see from his battle with Max Defourney at the Red Bull Ring in Formula Renault last year.

McLaren also announced that long-standing members of its junior team Nobuharu Matsushita and Nyck de Vries will continue on with them, but Norris arguably looks like a better F1 prospect already than either of them.

Norris will race for the Carlin team in European F3 in 2017 and has to be considered one of the favourites to win the title. If he does well who knows where he’ll be racing in 2018 – Alonso’s contract will be up, and going to F1 straight from F3 seems to be the thing to do recently. Whether McLaren will be brave enough to fast-track him through the ranks in the same way as Red Bull did with Verstappen and Williams have with Stroll is another matter.