McLaren have signed a contract with 13-year-old American karter Ugo Ugochukwu to support him through racing’s junior categories.
The Formula 1 team said the agreement gives them an option to sign Ugochukwu to a race deal in the future.
McLaren Racing chief executive officer Zak Brown said: “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 move gives McLaren what they describe as a multi-year contract with Ugochuku, within which there is an option they can choose to take up which would tie him to a further multi-year racing deal. This could be in F1 or in other categories.
McLaren, like many F1 teams, have had a young driver programme for many years. Their most high-profile graduate is Lewis Hamilton, who was also signed by the team when he was 13, and who remains so far F1’s only black driver.
Ugochukwu, who was born in New York and whose mother is Nigerian, won last year’s FIA OK Junior European championship, and has graduated to the senior class this season.