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McLaren reveal new youth programme led by SURPRISE F1 star

McLaren reveal new youth programme led by SURPRISE F1 star

McLaren reveal new youth programme led by SURPRISE F1 star

McLaren reveal new youth programme led by SURPRISE F1 star

McLaren has announced an all-new Driver Development programme, led by ex-Formula 1 driver Emanuele Pirro.

The programme plans to build young drivers’ careers from karting to professional racing, to keep a steady stream of emerging talent flowing into Formula 1.

McLaren also noted that the scheme plans to support the Formula 1 aspirations of existing drivers from other series.

Team principal and McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said of the plan: “With McLaren’s wide racing portfolio across Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E, we’re well placed to help develop young talent from the very start of their careers all the way through to full-time racing or test and development roles."

The team’s former system has already helped drivers to become great – most notably Lewis Hamilton, now a seven-time world champion, who was signed to the former young driver programme aged 13.

The new programme plans to build a ‘talent pipeline’ for the McLaren Formula 1 Team, Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team and the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team.

The scheme currently includes Arrow McLaren IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward, Formula 1 reserve driver Alex Palou and young driver Ugo Ugochukwu.

Brown added: “We already have an exciting stable of talent, featuring Pato, Alex and Ugo, and I’m excited to continue supporting their development as we start to build the McLaren Driver Development programme.”

Learning from the best

Pirro, a former McLaren test driver, Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner, will lead the programme.

He said: “I am thrilled by this assignment for several reasons. McLaren played a crucial role in my career by giving me the opportunity to earn an F1 drive and to elevate myself to a higher level by working alongside Senna, Prost and Berger.

“Together with my team, my role will assist in creating a state-of-the-art programme, selecting the best possible drivers and providing them with all the tools they need to make the best use of their talent.

“Furthermore, embed them in the McLaren mission, vision and values and hopefully, have one of them progress to the F1 team.”

Emanuele Pirro will lead the McLaren youth programme

He spoke of his passion for helping young talent, adding: “I love working with young drivers and helping them grow and improve. Every time I did it in the past has been an enriching experience and I look forward to doing it again.

“McLaren has an amazing history in F1. It means a lot to me, and I am hugely proud to be part of this programme. I am grateful to Zak Brown and Andrea Stella for giving me this great opportunity."

READ MORE: Top F1 teams set to battle for young Brazilian racing SENSATION

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