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Mercedes welcomes first female driver in search for "champions of tomorrow"

Mercedes welcomes first female driver in search for "champions of tomorrow"

F1 News

Mercedes welcomes first female driver in search for "champions of tomorrow"

Mercedes welcomes first female driver in search for "champions of tomorrow"

Mercedes has welcomed its first female driver to its junior programme as the team searches for its "champions of tomorrow".

Seven drivers will hope to follow in the footsteps of George Russell who, after joining the Silver Arrows from Williams, becomes the first to graduate from the junior programme to race as a works driver.

Amongst the junior class is 11-year-old Luna Fluxa who is looking to take the next step up the ladder when she takes part in the OK Junior class of karting after winning the IAME Euro Series in X30 Mini last year.

Formula 2 driver Frederik Vesti headlines the line-up, with Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Paul Aron, Yuanpu Cui, Daniel Guinchard and Alex Powell completing the roster.

Team principal Toto Wolff said: "It's going to be a really exciting year for our junior drivers, and we're delighted to welcome them to our W13 launch on Friday as part of our motorsport family.

"There are some familiar faces in the programme from previous years, looking to build on their strong progress, and there are also several new members of the programme who have joined us this year.

"It will be great to see how they develop in their first season with us."

Gwen Lagrue, driver development advisor for the team, added: "It's definitely a special year with the promotion of George, who was one of our first junior drivers since the young driver programme was reborn in 2016.

"Lewis [Hamilton] is one of the greatest sportspeople of all time and is an inspiration to all racing drivers, so it will be a brilliant opportunity for our juniors to get to know and look up to the seven-time F1 champion.

"It's also special because we have recruited our first female driver to the programme with Luna, who won the European Mini X30 championship last year.

"We also welcome Daniel, who had an outstanding 2021 in go-karts and will step up to British F4 this year.

"We now are present in almost every category of the motorsport pyramid, from go-karting to F1, with a group of talented young drivers and we are constantly working on preparing the next generation of F1 and motorsport stars."

Commenting on Russell's move to the team for 2022, motorsport strategy director James Vowles explained: "George joining alongside Lewis marks a significant milestone for our young driver programme.

"Every year, the programme has grown, and we are fortunate to have an incredible line-up across categories ranging from karting to F1.

"We'll be working hard to provide the best support and environment we can, enabling them to focus on the job in hand and deliver their maximum potential.

"The Mercedes young drivers of today will hopefully be our champions of tomorrow."

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