McLaren has maintained its belief in tracking racing talent in the way that it helped Lewis Hamilton reach Formula One, and has signed up Dutch kart racer Nyck de Vries as the latest addition to its young driver development programme.

Continuing the Hamilton link, the 14-year old will be managed by Lewis' father Anthony under the Hamilton Management Group banner, with the Briton sharing in the belief that de Vries stands out among the current crop of junior racers.

"Nyck is an extremely promising youngster," Hamilton Sr commented, "His father Hendrik has been fantastically supportive of Nyck's career, and has been instrumental in raising him up to not just be a great young racing driver, but also a fine young man.

"Together, we both believe that, with the right level of support, we can take his career to the highest level. We'll be working very closely with Dino Chiesa, who will be running Nyck in Italy this year. Dino is an old friend, who previously ran Lewis and Nico [Rosberg] in Team MBM, so he knows everything about nurturing and developing young talent. We believe this is a very exciting and dynamic partnership."

de Vries follows not only in the footsteps of 2008 world champion Hamilton, but joins Briton Oliver Rowland on the development scheme.

"McLaren has a long-held commitment to assisting young talent - we believe it's part of the responsibility of the motor racing community to encourage and nurture junior racers, and we are committed to doing just that," team principal Martin Whitmarsh said, "Nyck appears to be a very exciting prospect, and we are looking forward to assisting his junior career, providing him with the support and training he requires to succeed."

McLaren's move to sign de Vries echoes other moves made in F1 circles, notably Ferrari's investment in F3 Euroseries champion Jules Bianchi, at a time when several driver development schemes are thought to be in jeopardy due to the financial climate.

"My visit to the McLaren Technology Centre has been a fantastic experience and I am very honoured and grateful for the support of McLaren in helping to develop my career," de Vries commented, "The resources they have are incredible, and I believe they'll be able to provide me with the perfect framework for improving my skills, my fitness and my motorsport experience."

McLaren has said that it will issue further details on its full young driver programme next month.