norris piastri mclaren

McLaren’s Commitment to Youth Continues to Pay Dividends

norris piastri mclaren

McLaren’s rich racing history is intertwined with nurturing young talent, current Formula 1 guns Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, drivers who are a testament to their commitment to youth.

Their Driver Development Programme, formerly known as the McLaren Young Driver Programme, has served as a launchpad for future Formula One (F1) stars for over two decades.

The program offers a unique blend of guidance, support and endorsement, acting as a stepping stone for promising young drivers as they navigate the demanding motorsport ladder.


McLaren recently announced the addition of two exciting new recruits, with Formula Three (F3) drivers Alex Dunne and Martinius Stenshorne joining the driver development programme.

These young talents join a lineage that includes Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. The success stories of both drivers indicate that McLaren are prepared to give young drivers their chance to impress.

Dunne is regarded as an exceptional talent. He dominated the 2022 British Formula Four (F4) Championship and came close to victory in both the Italian F4 and GB3 Championships last year.

The 18-year-old Irishman is currently competing in F3 and impressed on his debut with a stunning second-place finish at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

Dunne is destined for bigger things. It’s only a matter of time before he earns a promotion to F1, and McLaren offers the perfect environment to hone his driving skills.

Irish fans are already buzzing with anticipation, and Dunne is sure to become a popular pick among betting enthusiasts in his home country over the coming years.

Dunne has already shown he has the potential to become a world beater, and the best sports betting sites in Ireland will undoubtedly be flooded with wagers if he makes it to F1.

Betting on the Future


Norris and Piastri highlight the programme’s success. After conquering the karting world in 2014, Norris entered McLaren’s development programme in 2017.

After joining the programme, he won the F3 European Championship with Carlin Motorsport before finishing as runner-up after his promotion to F2 in 2018.

Norris was announced as a McLaren driver in 2018, and a flurry of achievements followed. He has climbed the podium multiple times, with his first coming at the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.

He secured his first pole position at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix and reached the pinnacle with a stunning victory at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Australian driver Piastri is another product of McLaren’s development programme. He has impressed with three podium finishes, with his first coming at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

However, the most notable graduate of McLaren’s development programme remains Lewis Hamilton.

Identified as a future champion while still a karter, McLaren nurtured his talent before promoting him to their F1 team. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hamilton remains the greatest investment made by McLaren in a young driver

(L to R): 12 year old Karting star Lewis Hamilton (GBR) and Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal.Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 24 August 1997.

Hamilton went on to establish himself as one of the greatest drivers in F1 history. He won his first F1 Drivers’ Championship with McLaren in 2008 before winning another six in 12 years with Mercedes.

His achievements stand as a testament to his incredible skill and the foundation laid by McLaren’s development programme.

Since the programme’s inception, Hamilton remains the only graduate to have secured a World Championship behind the wheel of a McLaren car.

McLaren’s development programme goes beyond nurturing raw grassroots talent. Unlike traditional drivers’ academy programs, which solely focus on young talents, McLaren’s programme is designed to incorporate established drivers.

Their comprehensive approach creates a talent pipeline for all of McLaren’s racing arms, such as F1, IndyCar and Formula E.

Drivers can be groomed for race seats or test and development roles, ensuring a long-term succession plan across their motorsport landscape.

McLaren Young Driver Development Programme

FIA Formula 3 drivers Alex Dunne and Martinius Stenshorne join McLaren  Driver Development programme

McLaren’s driver development programme currently features Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, F1 reserve driver Ryo Hirakawa, 2023 Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto, F1 Academy driver Bianca Bustamante, and American junior driver Ugo Ugochukwu.

Dunne and Stenshorne are the newcomers, but the programme equips these drivers with the skills and knowledge to become champions, not just drivers.

Fitness training, engineering knowledge and media coaching ensure drivers in the programme are well-rounded individuals ready for the intense world of top-tier motorsport.

McLaren’s current crop of young drivers also serves as valuable assets in their current F1 set-up. They provide crucial support to the main drivers.

They participate in practice sessions, gather data and are always ready to step in if needed. This ensures McLaren has a pool of race-ready talent at the immediate disposal of the main team.