Mercedes has added two new faces to its junior driver programme, bringing the number of racers on its scheme up to seven.
Mercedes will field one of its proteges in Formula 1 for the first time in 2022 following the promotion of George Russell, following three years at Williams.
On Tuesday Mercedes announced the addition of karter Luna Fluxa and British F4 graduate Daniel Guinchard to its junior driver programme.
They join Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Paul Aron, Yuanpu Cui, Alex Powell and Frederik Vesti.
Vesti is the most senior of the seven-strong line-up as he will step up to Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix in 2022.
Aron and Antonelli will compete with Prema in the Formula Regional European Championship and Italian Formula 4 respectively, while Guinchard will race for Argenti in British G4
Yuanpu, Powell and Fluxa will remain in karting categories for 2022.
“It’s definitely a special year with the promotion of George, who was one of our first junior drivers since the young driver programme was reborn in 2016,” said Mercedes’ driver development chief Gwen Lagrue.
“Lewis [Hamilton] is one of the greatest sportspeople of all time and is an inspiration to all racing drivers, so it will be a brilliant opportunity for our juniors to get to know and look up to the seven-time F1 champion.
“It’s also special because we have recruited our first female driver to the programme, with Luna who won the European Mini X30 championship last year.
“We also welcome Daniel, who had an outstanding 2021 in go karts and will step up to British F4 this year.
“We now are present in almost every category of the motorsport pyramid, from go karting to F1, with a group of talented young drivers. And we are constantly working on preparing the next generation of F1 and motorsport stars.”