McLaren Driver Development Programme
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is hugely proud of its reputation for helping to develop the careers of young racing drivers.
The McLaren Group has been heavily involved in the foundation, funding and running of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award, the celebrated British scheme that has helped develop the careers of junior racers, since its inception back in 1989.
Past winners of the award include reigning world champion Jenson Button, 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard and DTM champion and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Gary Paffett.
McLaren engineers have also quietly fostered the careers of a number of junior racers, providing feedback, assessment and training to help develop their skills.
The most notable success in this area has been Lewis Hamilton, whom McLaren helped develop from a 13-year-old kart racer into a Formula 1 world champion.
The team’s considerable experience in driver development has shown that succeeding at the very highest level of motorsport is incredibly difficult – and that even the greatest of potential talents requires more than just financial backing in order to achieve the greatest success
As a result, the McLaren Driver Development Programme has not been created to merely fund careers in motorsport; it has been designed to offer year-by-year guidance, assistance and endorsement to help promising young racers – regardless of nationality – to climb the motorsport ladder.
The McLaren Driver Development Programme aims to provide young drivers with:
1. accurately-graded physical training and nutrition programmes
2. meaningful career information and contractual guidance
3. thorough and exacting assessments of skill and ability
4. media and PR improvement tools
5. the necessary funding to ensure career development
6. public endorsement from one of motorsport’s most well-established names
7. a reputation that will enable them to continue their careers with increased independence