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Tom Blomqvist joins McLaren programme

by Peter Allen

Photo: GP3 Media Service

Young British ace Tom Blomqvist has been recruited to the Formula 1 team’s Young Driver Programme…

18-year-old Blomqvist, the son of World Rally Champion Stig, won the Formula Renault UK title in 2010 at the age of 16. This made him the youngest ever champion in the series, which boasts Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton as former winners.

Last year Blomqvist contested the German F3 Cup, and was lying fourth in the points until a back injury kept him out of the final two rounds. He had qualified on pole for his debut in the category at the season opener, and won a race at Zolder in Belgium. His 2012 plans are currently unknown, though he tested in the GP3 Series at the end of last year.

?I?m thrilled to get this opportunity with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,? said Blomqvist. ?The competition gets more fierce every time you step up a category, and having this level of support will really improve my strength and confidence.?

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh said: ?Tom is rightly considered to be a very bright prospect in single-seater racing, as demonstrated by his presence in the shortlist of finalists for the 2011 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, the ultimate accolade for young drivers and a programme which McLaren has had the pleasure of supporting for more than two decades. Tom is also now a member of the McLaren Young Driver Programme.

?On-track results are the ultimate measurements of a driver’s merit, and in this regard Tom is already delivering on his potential. As a winner of the Formula Renault Championship, he’s following in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton, who passed this career milestone just three years before graduating to Formula 1 with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. We’re therefore watching Tom?s progress with great interest.?

Blomqvist, managed by former McLaren driver Mark Blundell, joins Kevin Magnussen, son of former F1 driver Jan, and teenage karting sensaiton Nyck de Vries in McLaren’s young driver stable.