British prodigy Lando Norris, 17, handed Formula One chance by McLaren

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Lando Norris won the European Formula Three championship last month (Source: Getty)

British teenager Lando Norris has been backed to prove his status as “one of the very best up and coming single-seater drivers in the world” after being named as McLaren’s test and reserve driver for 2018.

Norris, who turns 18 on Monday, replaces fellow countryman and former world champion Jenson Button in the role and will be first in line to deputise for race drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne next season.

“His summer test for McLaren was also remarkably impressive and was further proof that he is ready to step up and take on a role of this size, scope and responsibility,” said executive director Zak Brown.

“At McLaren, we are all extremely keen to help him achieve his goal of racing in Formula One.”

Norris, who won the European Formula Three championship last month, said: “The last 12 months have been an incredible journey for me. I’ve enjoyed every single minute and this is just an amazing way to bring the year to an end. I’m really looking forward to helping the team.”