Teams junior drivers part 1

Being a team in Formula One they are not just battling it out on track they are also looking for the next best thing to hopefully find the next future world champion.

Mercedes Juniors-

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, has been with the German team since 2019 when he was only 12 years old but CEO Toto Wolff had been keeping an eye on him some time before he signed for the team. He is the 2020/2021 OK European Champion, this year already he has took part in F4 UAE, where he scored two wins and two more podiums! He is most definitely one to look out for in the future…

Paul Aron competed in Formula Regional European Championship last year with Prema he finished 3rd overall. He also tested with Formula 3 at the post-season test with Prema, so could potentially see him in F3 soon!

Alex Powell, born in Miami in 2007 but is a native of Jamaica. He made his karting debut in 2015 and his managed to make a name for himself already. Looking on the last couple of years, Alex has enjoyed a successful 2019 campaign, driving for Energy Corse, which included winning the ROK Cup Superfinal (Mini ROK) and 24° South Garda Winter Cup (Mini ROK), finishing third in the WSK Super Master Series (60 Mini), third in the Italian Championship (60 Mini), fifth in WSK Euro Series (60 Mini) and ninth in the WSK Champions Cup (60 Mini). 2020 saw Alex take on various OK Junior categories in the karting world, including the WSK Champions Cup and WSK Super Master Series.

Frederik Vesti, new to the Mercedes junior programme but most definitely causing a scene. In 2016 he competed in both German and Danish F4 Championships. He missed two events in the Danish Championship but still managed to finish 2nd. Vesti competed in the Formula Regional European Championship where he won the championship ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi. Vesti then done two years in Formula 3 with him finishing 4th both year. He is now going to race in Formula 2 for the 2022 season with ART Grand Prix, the team he was with in Formula 3 last year!

Lastly, Yuanpu Cui. First drove a go-kart at the age of six, and joined the team last year off a positive season in 2020. Yuanpu’s started racing professionally in 2014 and by 2016 he had finished second in the Chinese Rotax series. Over the next few seasons, he began to expand his racing outside of China, competing in events all around the world. This included podium finishes in Italian National events, WSK Open Cup, WSK Final Cup, the ROK Cup Superfinal and WSK Euro Series in the 60 Mini and Mini ROK classes, across the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2020, he picked up a P2 position in the 31° Andrea Margutti Trophy in OK Junior, picked up victories and podiums in the WSK Champions Cup in 60 Mini and scored podiums in the WSK Super Master Series in 60 Mini. He also achieved a podium in the 2020 Florida Winter Tour in Mini ROK.

Sauber Junior Team-

Théo Pourchaire, they youngest driver ever to win an F2/GP2 race last year with ART GP, he will be returning to Formula 2 this year with ART GP again in hopes to try and fight for the title. Since being with the Sauber academy, he has won the ADAC Formula 4 Championship beating Dennis Haugher by seven points. Could we see these two fighting for the title this year?

Christian Ho, is a 13 year old go-kart driver, who was born in Singapore. His half Chinese and half Korean but he is living in Italy. His currently competing in the Junior category with Sauber Junior Karting team.

Miguel Costa, was born in 2009, he first started karting when he was 3 years old, since then he hasn’t looked back. In 2016 he became the Rock Cup Vice Champion, in 2017 he then went on to be FWT Rok, FWT Rotax and Rok Cup USA Vice Champion. This year he is competing in many karting championships!

Tiziano Monza, was born in Singapore in 2009 but lives in Italy so he can race around the world. In 2020 he became the WSK Open Cup Vice Champion. Again this year, he is set to be competing in karting championships.

Gustaw Wiśniewski, another karter added to the juniors. Has taken part in WSK series in Italy, as well as Silver medalist of Poland in Rotax Junior Max, Bronze medalist of Poland in Junior Rok as well as 2nd place in Rotax Max Challenge series.

Juan Manuel Correa, a name most of us know well! He first joined the academy back in 2019 but then re-joined last year again. He made his racing come back last year with ART GP, he is set to do his second year this year returning with ART GP.

McLaren Young Driver Programme-

McLaren has had many of drivers through its young drivers program, most successful being 7 time champion, Lewis Hamilton. The most recent driver who graduated from the program was Lando Norris, who now drives for the team this led the British team to be left with no drivers from 2019 to 2021.

In March 2021, McLaren announced Ugo Ugochukwu as apart of their programme. The American was crowned the FIA European Karting Champion and he has managed to secure many titles in his career already! In December it got announced that Ugo, will be competing in British F4 in 2022 with Carlin- he will be turning 15 on the eve of the championship!

I will be splitting this in to two posts due to some teams having more drivers than others…

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