Emanuele Pirro has been hired to lead new McLaren F1 driver development programme which currently has three drivers.

McLaren announced the formation of a new driver development programme which will be led by veteran Pirro. It is aimed to create potential talents for its F1, Formula E and IndyCar teams, in as a full-time driver or test or in development capacity.

McLaren is to support young talents in their development from karting to professional level. They are also aiming to support established professional from other series with opportunities in F1 via their testing programme.

At present, they have IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou in the ranks, where the latter is already its F1 reserve. Among the juniors who is still coming through the junior ladders is Ugo Ugochukwu, who is racing in Italian F4 with Prema.

“McLaren has a long history of developing emerging talent into top-level racing drivers and I’m proud that will continue long into the future,” said Zak Brown. “We have an experienced team here at McLaren, who will be ably led by Emanuele, that are capable of providing the support and resources required to develop raw young talent into highly competitive professional racing drivers.

“With McLaren’s wide racing portfolio across Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E, we’re well placed to help develop young talent from the very start of their careers all the way through to full-time racing or test and development roles. We already have an exciting stable of talent, featuring Pato, Alex and Ugo, and I’m excited to continue supporting their development as we start to build the McLaren Driver Development programme.”

At the same time, Pirro added: “I am thrilled by this assignment for several reasons. McLaren played a crucial role in my career by giving me the opportunity to earn an F1 drive and to elevate myself to a higher level by working alongside Senna, Prost and Berger.

“Together with my team, my role will assist in creating a state-of-the-art programme, selecting the best possible drivers and providing them with all the tools they need to make the best use of their talent. Furthermore, embed them in the McLaren mission, vision and values and hopefully, have one of them progress to the F1 team.

“An important asset for us are the IndyCar and Formula E teams, which will give extra opportunities for a professional career to our McLaren Driver Development members. I love working with young drivers and helping them grow and improve. Every time I did it in the past has been an enriching experience and I look forward to doing it again.

“McLaren has an amazing history in F1. It means a lot to me, and I am hugely proud to be part of this programme. I am grateful to Zak Brown and Andrea Stella for giving me this great opportunity.”

Here’s Andrea Stella on them not getting carried away

Here’s Zak Brown on not liking McLaren’s development pace

Here’s McLaren duo on points in Australia

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