16 JANUARY, 2017 – Lando Norris continues his meteoric rise up the FIA single-seater pyramid, following in the footsteps of previous champions Jenson Button and Ayrton Senna to Formula 1. Nevertheless, he still found time to catch up with the series in which his single-seater career began, the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.
As the 17-year-old reacquainted himself with the Ford EcoBoost-powered racer on the MSA stand at the Autosport International show he said: “What was at the time known as MSA Formula, and is now British F4, was my first year of single-seaters and it was undoubtedly the very best championship for me to join.
“You learn how to drive around a variety of different circuit types and on the TOCA package along with the British Touring Car Championship, which means you get a lot of media coverage.”
In 2016 Norris enjoyed success on multiple fronts, claiming both the Eurocup and Northern European Cup titles, as well as the TRS title and capped off a remarkable year by winning the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.
It has earned him a test in a McLaren Formula 1 car and a simulator role with the British team, all of which he reckons might not have been possible had he not cut his teeth in the UK’s leading single-seater series.
“Crucially, you learn so much more than just the basics because the racing is so close,” explained Norris.
“It means you have to be really precise. You have to be very good in qualifying and at starts for example. These are all things that you have to learn and understand to prepare for a career in motorsport. The F4 British Championship enables drivers to do this. It enabled me to do this.
“It helped me become more accurate and precise behind the wheel; to find that extra bit of lap time to be on pole or win a race. What I learned in British F4 has definitely helped me to achieve the results I have since graduating from the series.
“Ford’s backing of the championship is great and there is the possibility for drivers to progress with them with things like their Ford GT programme. There are so many positives which come as a result of competing in British F4 and that’s a good thing for youngsters to see.”
The 2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion, who will continue his progression up the FIA single-seater pyramid in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2017 with Carlin, was keen to emphasise how some of the sport’s best teams make up the British F4 grid.
“There’s a lot of top quality teams in British F4, for example Carlin who I raced with,” said Norris.
“It’s also the only single-seater series in the UK open to 15-year-olds. There are equivalent championships in Germany and Italy, but you race on more technical and unforgiving tracks in the UK than you do in those countries.
“British F4 is the category to start in.”