Mercedes set for junior programme

By on Monday, September 8, 2014
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes is set to invest further in their young driver programme next season in order to rival those of their Formula 1 counterparts.

Mercedes supports several youngsters - including Force India's Daniel Juncadella and Caterham's Roberto Merhi - but it does not have a de facto Formula 1 programme compared to rivals Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.

Red Bull has invested heavily in young drivers, with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo both graduates of the junior programme, while Ferrari has Marussia's Jules Bianchi and GP2 winner Raffaele Marciello under contract.

But Motorsport boss Toto Wolff says that the German marque is likely to have a proper junior squad next season.

"There is a great history in the Mercedes-Benz junior programme, many years with [Heinz-Harald] Frentzen, [Karl] Wendlinger and [Michael] Schumacher" he said.

"We have a junior programme, we have obviously a good F3 engine and some of the boys we co-finance, we help them in racing the budgets to finance those engines. This is already happening since many years. The idea was in further expanding that programme, similar to the one 25 years ago. We’ve started to think about it.

"We had a look at some of the very good boys but we are not yet ready - and the simple reason is that there is a championship in our way.

"In the next two-and-a-half months we should be concentrating on getting that done - and probably over the winter we’re going to structure a junior programme and I’m very much in favour of doing it. But if you’re going to do it, you need to do it properly."

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