Although Lando Norris is believed to be in line for a 2019 McLaren driver, sporting director Gil de Ferran insists his FP1 runs are more to do with development than assessment.
Norris drove the McLaren MCL33 during Friday’s first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, finishing just under a tenth ahead of regular driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Brit will be back in action this Friday at Monza, this time replacing Vandoorne for the session.
But while reports claim Norris is one of four drivers in line to partner Carlos Sainz at McLaren next season, his boss says the Friday runs are about developing the driver, not assessing him for a 2019 drive.
“You called it assessment, I call it development,” said de Ferran.
“It’s very hard to assess a driver in the strength of one free practice or one session or one qualifying session.
“I think you need to step back and take a wider view. That’s been the same for everyone.
“I think these free practice sessions are really more about giving Lando exposure and help him along the development plan.”
So far de Ferran has been impressed what what he has seen from the Formula 2 racer.
He added: “One thing he certainly has is he adapts himself very quickly to any new situation.
“I’ve seen that on the tests that he had and the same thing happened here.
“As part of his development, we wanted to bring him [into FP1 because of different downforce levels, a lot more cars on the track, a lot of track evolution and wanted to give him that experience.
“He came up to speed very quickly and did a fine job for us, didn’t make any mistakes. He was absolutely fine.”