On the eve of launching their new 2017 Formula One contended, the McLaren-Honda squad has confirmed the recruitment of more exciting talent to its Young Driver Programme.
Stoffel Vandoorne, who was in their young driver program last year, has now graduated to a Formula One race seat this year alongside Fernando Alonso, leaving room for more up and coming young talent to join the fold.
Lando Norris, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner – and the champion of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Toyota Racing Series last year – joins Nobuharu Matsushita and Nyck de Vries as they aspire to follow Stoffel’s winning trajectory all the way to the pinnacle of global motorsport.
After racing in – and winning – three complete series last season, and contesting selected events in British and European Formula 3, McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Lando will mount a full-time FIA European Formula 3 Championship campaign with Carlin in 2017 while Matsushita, who added to his tally of GP2 Series wins with an outstandingly dominant performance at Monaco last season, is setting his sights on attempting to become 2017 GP2 champion as he returns for another campaign with the ART Grand Prix team. He will also continue to act as a Formula 1 test and development driver for McLaren-Honda.
Twice a race winner in GP3 in 2016, having won the final race of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2015, and having taken the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship with five race wins in 2014, Nyck de Vries is now in the process of finalising a deal to run in a major international racing championship in 2017.
“I’m very excited by how fruitful the McLaren-Honda Young Driver Programme has been in bringing talented young drivers to the fore,” said Eric Boullier. “It’s a grand testament to the success of our Programme that first Kevin [Magnussen] and now Stoffel [Vandoorne] have succeeded in their ambitions to become Grand Prix drivers. And, although the Programme is a relatively recent creation, in truth we’ve been nurturing and developing the careers of up-and-coming drivers for many decades.”
“It’s our mission to equip the members of the McLaren-Honda Young Driver Programme with all the tools necessary to break through – because ours is a highly competitive world in which the difference between success and failure is mapped out in tiny nuances. It’s a hallmark of McLaren-Honda’s approach that we leave nothing to chance.”
To maintain peak physical and cognitive performance throughout the season, all members of the McLaren-Honda Young Driver Programme will benefit from the McLaren Applied Technologies Human Performance Programme, led by Dr Adam Hill. As part of that Programme, drivers will receive data-driven training support from the in-house Human Performance team.