McLaren’s latest young protégé, Dutchman Nyck de Vries, is to have his progress through the motorsport ranks supported by the team’s sponsor Lucozade.
Towards the end of last year McLaren entered into a strategic partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, whose products include the energy and sports drink Lucozade, with the logo of the brand subsequently appearing on the rear wing of this year’s MP4-27 and the firm developing a new drink specifically for the Woking squad’s race drivers and mechanics.
It has now been announced that 17-year-old de Vries, the reigning back-to-back world karting champion and who this year has taken the step up to Formula Renault 2.0, will also benefit from the partnership with the young Dutchman to “receive hydration expertise and sporting performance support from Lucozade” over the forthcoming years.
De Vries joined McLaren’s young driver programme in 2010 and is managed by Anthony Hamilton, whose son Lewis is the star graduate of the scheme having been supported by the F1 team from the age of 13. Amid a period of much speculation over what the 2008 world champion will decide to do for next season with his McLaren contract up at the end of the year, the team’s managing director Jonathan Neale said it was important the squad always looked to the next generation of stars to ensure its future driver line-ups remained as strong as the current one.
“As Managing Director of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I regard driver recruitment as a matter of enormous importance. In Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 world champions both, I’m pleased to say that we have the strongest driver line-up in Grand Prix racing today,” Neale said. “Our McLaren Young Driver programme, which identified and nurtured Lewis in his karting days, then guided him through Formula 3 and GP2 to his Formula 1 debut with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2007, is crucial to the process of ensuring that our future driver line-ups are as strong as our current one is. For that reason, I applaud the involvement of Lucozade in the ongoing development of Nyck de Vries’s career, and wish him success in his journey from junior single-seaters through to his ultimate goal of Formula 1.”
Jenson Button also commented on the importance of McLaren’s young driver scheme and said that de Vries was likely to find the assistance from Lucozade very helpful. The 2009 world champion said: “Getting from karting to Formula 1 is an incredibly tough journey – and one that you have to fight for every single step of the way,” he said. “My years in karting gave me the solid foundation I needed to move into single-seaters and Formula 1. But that is never straightforward for anyone – that’s why I think the McLaren Young Driver Programme is such a good idea.
“I arrived at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2010, as reigning Formula 1 world champion, so I was obviously never a part of the programme, but I think it’s an excellent scheme, and I’m sure that Nyck will really benefit from his involvement in it.
“One of the programme’s aims to create overall fitness by developing and conditioning your body. As he starts to take part in longer races, driving faster cars, Nyck will learn to recognise that good hydration can have a significant impact on his results. And having Lucozade onboard will give him all the benefit of their massive experience in that area. I wish him well.”
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