Lewis Hamilton’s world championship-winning Mercedes team have signed young British driver George Russell to their junior programme.
Russell, who turns 19 next month, hails from Tydd St Giles and finished third in the European Formula Three championship last season.
He follows in the footsteps of Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein - both of whom are part of the Mercedes young driver academy and have landed full-time seats with other teams in Formula One.
Ocon (20) will drive for Force India this season while 22-year-old Wehrlein was recently announced at Sauber for the forthcoming campaign.
“It’s great to be part of the junior programme,” said Russell, who attended Wisbech Grammar School. “It is an incredible opportunity to have the backing of the Formula One world champions.
“I’m proud to have been given this kind of recognition for all the hard work that’s gone into my career over the years so far.”
Russell will compete in feeder series GP3 this season, and could get his first Formula One outing at a young driver test later in the year. He will also spend time in the team’s F1 simulator.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “George has shown impressive form in the junior categories and we’ve been keeping a close eye on him for a while now. It’s still early days in his career but we see great potential in him.
“George’s next challenge in GP3 will provide a good test of his credentials for the future.”