McLaren open to lending out Norris, but rules out long-term deal

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McLaren would consider loaning out reserve driver Lando Norris this season but without any strings attached for the future, says Zak Brown.

The highly rated 18-year-old hopeful was targeted by Toro Rosso recently as a potential replacement for the struggling Brendon Hartley.

McLaren rejected the offer however because Red Bull sought a deal that extended into 2019.

With both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne's future up in the air for next season, the Woking-based outfit wants to keep its options open, including the possibility of promoting Norris to a full-time race seat with McLaren next year.

Chances of seeing Norris behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso this year appear remote, but Brown would however ponder a short-term offer for the F2 racer, if it helped the McLaren junior gain a head start on the future.

"If there was an opportunity for Lando to gain experience then that’s something we would consider," Brown responded when asked last weekend in Montreal if he would be interested in loaning Norris to Toro Rosso this season.

"Lando is a McLaren driver. He has a bright future here, but we do not have an interest in letting Lando go anywhere on a long-term deal."

Alonso's immediate attention will be focused on Le Mans this weekend. But longer term, an exit from Grand Prix racing at the end of the year would appear likely given McLaren's current under-performance.

"I don't know, 2019 is still a long way ahead," replied the Spaniard when asked by Sky Sports about his plans for the future.

"Normally, I try to take my decisions after the summer break and this year is no different.

"An important decision is coming for sure."

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