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McLaren's youth policy

IN a move which is very similar to the BAR plans, McLaren has announced that it is to support a number of drivers at different levels of the sport, all of them running with the same basic liveries as the Formula 1 team. Last week the team announced that it is launching its "McLaren Mercedes Driver Support program" which will fund competitors in karting, Formula 3 and Formula 3000. The aim is to maximize the coverage for McLaren sponsors without enormous amounts of financial outlay.

The program is being run by former Williams F1 engineer David Brown and money is being supplied by West, Warsteiner, Mobil, Boss and Psygnosis. The drivers who will benefit are two young British kartists in the Champions of the Future series: 12-year-old Wesley Graves and 13-year-old Lewis Hamilton.

In the German Formula 3 Championship Bertram Schafer Racing will run a McLaren-supported car for 20-year-old Norman Simon, while the team has set up its own F3000 operation - called West Competition - which will run McLaren test driver Nick Heidfeld in one car. The second machine will be shared by Frenchman Nicolas Minassian and the current Formula 3000 Champion Ricardo Zonta, although the Brazilian is concentrating on his GT sportscar program with Mercedes Benz.

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