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Formula One team McLaren signs young Nigerian driver Ugochukwu

THERE will be a Nigerian Formula One driver in the coming years if things go according to plan for Ugo Ugochukwu.

The teenager with Nigerian and American heritage was on Monday signed to a long-term deal by one of the biggest teams in motorsport McLaren.

“McLaren Racing today announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with Ugo Ugochukwu, the promising young driver from the USA, who was recently crowned FIA European karting champion,” the team stated on Monday.

“The 13-year-old American has proven to be a revelation, already securing several titles in his young career in the US and Europe, and most recently winning the 2020 FIA OKJ European Championship.

“The agreement provides McLaren Racing with an option on Ugo’s services in the future, while supporting his development and evolution as he progresses through the junior categories of motorsport.”

Current F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton also started as a teenage go-kart driver before becoming one of the greatest drivers in the history of car racing.

“We’ve been watching Ugo’s progress with interest, so when the opportunity to sign an agreement with him became available, we had no hesitation moving on it,” the Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing Zak Brown said.

“Now we’ll focus on giving Ugo the right support when he needs it to help him fulfil his potential.”

Ugochukwu, who is one of the two sons of famous US-based Nigerian model Oluchi Onweagba, says he hopes to develop into a career driver with the help of the McLaren team.

“I’m honoured to be signed by such an iconic team as McLaren Racing so early in my career,” the youngster said.

“To have the support of McLaren is fantastic and what any young driver dreams of. I’m focused right now on developing as a driver and racer, so having McLaren by my side can only help me on and off the track.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1, added: “Ugo is a promising young talent with strong development prospects. While he is still early in his career, it is clear he has the ingredients to be successful in the sport. This signing reflects our refocused approach to identifying and supporting new talent, away from a formal young driver programme to a more tailored basis.”

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