RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes have made moves in the driver market ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix by signing young Chinese karting star Yuanpu Cui to their junior squad.

    The 13-year-old from Xi’an, China, began karting at the age of six and has been backed by Mercedes off a 2020 season that saw him finish second in the OK Junior class of the 31st Andrea Margutti Trophy, win and take podiums in the WSK Champions Cup, WSK Super Master Series and Florida Winter Tour.

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    Cui joins Italian karter Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Estonian Formula Renault 2.0 racer Paul Aron, Jamaican-Floridian karter Alex Powell and Danish F3 racer Frederik Vesti in the Mercedes junior roster.

    The Chinese driver will continue to race in OK Junior classes in a number of series this year for Argenti Motorsport.

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    "We're really excited to welcome Yuanpu Cui to the Mercedes family as the newest signing of our young driver programme,” said Gwen Lagrue, Driver Development Advisor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.

    “We're proud to be helping young drivers from a diverse range of countries and backgrounds on their rise up the motorsport ladder. Yuanpu certainly caught our attention and has shown great promise during his karting career so far.

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    “He's the top karting talent from China and there hasn't been a Chinese F1 driver yet, so we're looking forward to seeing how Yuanpu progresses and helping him move up the racing ranks.”

    McLaren signed 13-year-old American karting star Ugo Ugochukwu in March to a long-term deal as teams continue their everlong search for the F1 stars of the future.