Norris predicts a tough F1 debut for McLaren rookie Palou

Alex Palou and Robert Shwartzman will make their Formula 1 debuts at the 2022 US GP for McLaren and Ferrari, respectively, and their senior teammates told fans what to expect


Alex Palou will face a testing time in his FP1 debut at the 2022 United States Grand Prix according to Lando Norris, but the Brit backed his temporary teammate to put a good performance in for McLaren.

Palou is one of two rookies making their first appearance in FP1 in Austin as Robert Shwartzman will replace Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc, Palou was linked with the 2023 McLaren seat now held by Oscar Piastri.

“It’s always tough coming into an FP1,” Norris told the press in Austin.

“Especially in a car he’s never driven before, he’s done some test days in the previous car but this one is quite different, on such a cool track as well so it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s not like you have a lot of time especially with the tyres and things you don’t get that many laps of feeling good grip and things.”

Norris made his F1 debut in 2019 but drove seven free practice sessions for McLaren across the last nine races of 2018.

Lando Norris, McLaren, on the grid

That included an FP1 session at the US Grand Prix, where he placed 12th – one place behind incumbent Fernando Alonso.

Despite three seasons of IndyCar and an extensive junior career, Palou has never raced at the Circuit of the Americas and this will be his first taste of 2022 F1 machinery.

“He’s an extremely good driver,” Norris continued. “I’ve known Alex almost since karting, more personally the last few years but he’s an incredibly good driver, very talented and he’s in the car for a reason.

“He can give good insight, add some valuable details and help us out as much as possible so he’ll do a good job.”

Sainz backs Shwartzman

Carlos Sainz was similarly supportive of his FP1 teammate at Ferrari.

A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2017, Shwartzman won the inaugural FIA F3 season and has had extensive experience in Ferrari machinery across test days.

And the Spaniard backed ‘Bobby’, reminding the Russian-Israeli driver to remember to have fun as well as bringing back valuable data for the team.

“I think he’s going to have a lot of fun,” Sainz said ahead of the race weekend.

“He’s tried the 2021 car before so for sure it’s going to be a bit of a surprise to jump into the 2022 car because they’re quite a bit different, also it’s a new track so plenty of new things.

“I just hope that he does a good job for the team because obviously when you’re a young driver the main thing is to keep the car on track and give the information to the team that Charles isn’t able to give and enjoy it.

“It’s a cool day when you drive an FP1 in front of all the F1 people, sharing the track probably with his idols from the past and it’s a day that I think he needs to take as an enjoyment.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for and in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -


Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Mercedes / LAT Images

F1 2024 Monaco GP – Practice 2 Results

With Free Practice 2 complete at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was fastest in the...
Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Monaco GP 2024 : Free Practice 2 – Highlights and updates from Monte...

Good afternoon and welcome to Total-Motorsport’s coverage of Free Practice 2 at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix. This year...
Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 Monaco GP – Practice 1 Results

As the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix race weekend got underway, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton found himself top of the...
Sergio Perez of Red Bull during 2023 Monaco GP practice | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Monaco GP 2024 Free Practice 1 – Hamilton tops FP1 as Red Bull struggle!

Good morning and welcome to Total-Motorsport’s coverage of Free Practice 1 at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix. This year...
Lance Stroll leads Aston Martin teammate Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Monaco GP | Pirelli

Monaco Grand Prix: Five radical ideas to make F1’s iconic race great again

Everyone agrees the Monaco Grand Prix is sacred, unique and simply cannot be forced off the F1 calendar. The...
Sergio Perez ahead of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Sergio Perez demands extreme punishment for drivers causing red flag in Monaco GP qualifying

Sergio Perez calls for Formula 1 to kill any gamesmanship at future Monaco Grand Prix’s by deleting the fastest...
Lando Norris during 2024 F1 testing | McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris has a simple message to fans complaining about boring Monaco GP

Lando Norris has slammed fans who are criticising the quality of races offered by the Monaco Grand Prix, stating...
Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas unveils new helmet for the 2024 Monaco GP

All the new F1 driver helmet designs for Monaco GP 2024

Ayrton Senna is immortalised once again at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix as Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri remember...
Monaco weather |

Monaco GP Weather: Latest forecast for F1 2024 race in Monte Carlo

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, scheduled from May 24-26, is set to feature unpredictable weather conditions. As one of...
Kevin Magnussen in action at the 2023 Monaco GP | Simon Galloway / LAT Images

Where to Watch F1 Monaco GP 2024 on TV and Streaming

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix is one of the marquee events of the Formula 1 season, taking place on...
- Advertisment -