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.
“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.