Mercedes adds 13-year-old Chinese karter to F1 junior roster
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Cui, who first drove a go-kart at the age of six, is competing in the OK Junior classes with Kart Republic during 2021 following a successful 2020 campaign in which he picked up multiple victories and podiums.Second-place was achieved in the 31° Andrea Margutti Trophy in OK Junior, while he took race wins and podiums across the WSK Champions Cup and WSK Super Master Series. A further podium followed in the 2020 Florida Winter Tour in Mini ROK.Cui is the latest addition to Mercedes’ junior programme, which is headed by Williams F1 driver George Russell.Formula 3’s Frederik Vesti, Formula Regional European Championship’s Paul Aron, and karters Alex Powell and Andrea Kimi Antonelli are also on the German marquee’s roster.Mercedes is the second F1 team to add a 13-year-old karter to its ranks this year following McLaren’s signing of American rising star Ugo Ugochukwu.At the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said motorsport needs to be made more affordable at a grassroots level after Lewis Hamilton told Spanish publication AS that F1 “has become a billionaire boys’ club”.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Mercedes ‘more fired-up than ever’ to bounce back after ‘dissecting’ Monaco GPaccImages.createImage(); ‘Mental health is not a joke’ – Hamilton defends tennis star OsakaThree drivers on the current F1 grid – Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, and Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin – are all sons of billionaires.Hamilton was raised on a council estate in Stevenage with his father Anthony working multiple jobs in order to fund his karting career before he was picked up by McLaren aged 13.“What makes the sport so attractive is that it provides narrative for good soap [opera] outside of the racing too,” said Wolff. Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Verstappen braced for “strong” Mercedes fightback in Azerbaijan F1 GPaccImages.createImage(); How can I watch the Azerbaijan GP? F1 timings and TV schedules“Drivers have always come from different backgrounds and I think everyone has his story, and things to cope [with].“I doubt that kids from a more privileged background have it easy all the time. They are fighting their own demons.“What I think we can do is make sure that grassroots racing becomes more affordable, so kids that haven’t got any financial background can actually be successful in the junior formulas.”4“All the big Formula 1 teams [need to be] able to identify those kids, rather than making it so expensive that a good go-karting season costs 250,000, an F4 season 500,000, and an F3 season 1 million.“That is totally absurd and needs to stop, because we want to have access. I think we need to give access to kids that are interested in go-karting, the opportunity to race for much more affordable budgets.”
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