As the youngest driver on the Formula 1 grid, it’s perhaps no surprise that McLaren’s Lando Norris is more into using social media than any of his counterparts.
“I’ve grown up within this,” he told the Autosport International show in Birmingham earlier this month. “It’s part of my life.
“I’ve always been on social media since I was a little kid. Too early, maybe, for what I should have done!”
Norris is very active on Twitter and Instagram, and his accounts on the two social media sites have between them attracted over a million followers
Norris – who turned 20 in November – says he uses social media to reach out and engage fans by offering them a glimpse of life in F1 that otherwise would be locked away and out of sight.
“That’s just what I want to do. Just enjoy it and give people something that they don’t see with many other drivers.
“[It’s about] giving you guys and fans and whoever is at home a better [look] behind-the-scenes,” Crash.net reports him as telling the audience. “A better knowledge of what a Formula 1 driver does, how they act, what they get up to, and so on.”
As well as being a devotee of online eSports racing – frequently against his fellow F1 professional Max Verstappen – Norris is also a user of the Twitch streaming service. He says it’s another way of giving fans an insight into his day-to-day life away from the race track.
“[It’s] just people watching me at home playing on a simulator or playing games or whatever,” he explained. “No other driver does that.”
“It’s just to show what I love doing, to give people a better insight of what I get up to,” he added. “”I hope they like it.”
McLaren has been utilising Norris’ enthusiasm for social media with some of their pre-season publicity.
Earlier this month, the driver fronted a livestream event on the team’s YouTube channel. At one point he was filmed walking into a meeting at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking in which the team’s top secret 2020 car launch date was being discussed.
“I heard it was on the 13th of February,” Norris was heard to say before the video feed was swiftly cut off. Shortly afterwards the team formally confirmed that this was indeed when the MCL35 will be presented to the media for the first time.
The youthful ‘slip’ garnered a lot of press and social media attention at the time, leading many fans and pundits to wonder whether it had been a set-up all along.
Now that he’s no longer a teenager, Norris has promised to be more serious and grown-up in his sophomore season in 2020.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown admitted that signing such a young driver at the start of last year had been a risky choice for the team at the time.
“It was a risk, as Lando was the youngest British driver,” Brown told Spanish national daily sport newspaper Marca. “But from his first free practice, he was impressive.
“Lando took on the challenge but I knew he was ready when he did his first practice. He was as relaxed as when I saw him on the grid of a Formula Renault race. He seemed calm and immediately had the speed.”