McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris’s struggle with illness through the Spanish Grand Prix has been diagnosed as tonsillitis.
Norris has been struggling since the start of the weekend and admitted on Saturday that what appeared to be brushed off as allergies was actually being genuinely unwell.
He said on Saturday he has been suffering with irritation in his throat and eyes and said his sleep was compromised and energy levels were the “worst I’ve had in a long time”.
Norris did not test positive for COVID-19 but has instead been diagnosed with tonsillitis.
He missed his post-race media commitments while being checked by the team doctor after a gruelling race in high ambient temperatures.
Team principal Andreas Seidl revealed Norris’s status after the grand prix.
“Obviously when you’re not feeling well all weekend and when your energy levels are low with the tonsillitis he was suffering from it was a very challenging race especially in these hot temperatures as well,” said Seidl.
“He was pretty flat after the race but thanks to the great medical support within the team and he has around him.
“We need to make sure he has some good rest now the next four days before we then go again in Monaco.”
Norris finished eighth in the race to score points, four places ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, and Seidl said he was grateful that the driver had battled through the illness.
He also stressed that the medical advice given to the team meant it was OK for Norris to drive despite the problems it was causing.
“Obviously as a team, and from my side, we can’t thank him enough for battling through and he showed a great fighting spirit because in the end he enabled us to score these four points,” said Seidl.
“It was just great to see the commitment from his side. But at the same time is also clear we obviously have a doctor involved in decisions like that. And we would never risk the health of Lando, just to be clear on that as well.
“The doctor gave the green light today, and after it was clear from his side that he will give it a go, we went for it.”
Seidl’s expectation is that Norris will be able to race in next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, which is back-to-back with Spain this year instead of following a weekend off.
McLaren has an agreement with Mercedes and Alpine to use their reserve drivers (Nyck de Vries/Stoffel Vandoorne and Oscar Piastri) respectively if Norris is unwell.
“With the medical support we are having as well and with having the possibility now to rest for four days, I’m hopeful that Lando will be fit,” said Seidl.
“But we have different options in terms of reserve drivers prepared in case of an emergency.”
He added: “In terms of the reserve driver, that’s something we work out on short notice which of the options we would call.
“It depends on the availability because not all the guys are always available because of other commitments in other racing series.”