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McLaren signs up Blomqvist

ESPNF1 Staff
February 22, 2012 « Vettel enjoys 'fun' Hamilton battle | Force India pleased with 'faultless' car »
Tom Blomqvist won the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship, becoming its youngest ever winner © Sutton Images
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McLaren has signed up Tom Blomqvist - son of 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist - to its Driver Development Programme.

Blomqvist won the Formula Renault UK Championship in his first year of single seat racing, becoming the youngest driver ever to do so. He then graduated up to the Formula 3 Cup and continued to win races last year, and as a result has caught the eye of McLaren. Blomqvist said that the support from McLaren would help him progress through the higher categories.

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

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that the similarities with Lewis Hamilton's career meant the team was monitoring Blomqvist closely.

"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," he said.

"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."