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McLaren Autosport BRDC Award experience for Russell and Fielding

Thursday, October 30 2014

Newly-crowned BRDC F4 Champion George Russell and multiple race winner Sennan Fielding went straight from Snetterton to Silverstone at the start of this week, to take part in the on-track assessments for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

The duo, and 2013 F4 graduate Seb Morris (nominated for a second time), began the process on Monday with old and new tyre runs in Formula 2 cars before moving onto the McLaren GT3 and DTM Mercedes machines. The drivers then returned to the F2 cars on Tuesday.

“It was an incredible experience,” Russell commented. “The three cars are amazing and it was a brilliant opportunity to drive them, especially the DTM car. I’ve never felt so much grip before and the cornering speeds are immense.

“All three cars have their own qualities and it was just a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I performed as well as I could, and now it’s a nervous wait for the awards ceremony in London in December!”

Fielding commented: “All the cars were fantastic and it’s a privilege to have been able to drive them. The prize is unbelievable and even to have been nominated is amazing - not many 18-year-olds can say they’ve driven a DTM car, McLaren GT and an F2 car on the same day. I’m very thankful to the judges for being nominated and I hope I did them proud on the day.

“The cars are amazing in their own different ways but I loved the power and speed of the F2; all are superb and even better than I expected.”

Derek Warwick, chairman of the judges and BRDC President, commented to Autosport magazine: “We’ve got six very good, talented guys out there. It’s surprised all of us how close they are.

“We thought [by running on the Grand Prix circuit] that there would be a bigger spread and it would be easier to pick between two or three but that actually hasn’t happened.”

Ex-F1 racer and current DTM star Paul di Resta, present at the assessment to give guidance on the DTM machinery, said: “They’ve had very good conditions and it’s pushed them on a bit more to be honest. They’re all full of confidence; it’s amazing how well they dealt with it.

“The excellence will rise. There’s a few that have stuck out, but they all deserved the opportunity. Whether they win it or not, they’ve had a chance to drive some special cars and be involved.”

The final stage of the process takes place at the McLaren Technology Centre later this month. Each candidate goes through an interview process with the judging panel, which also includes double BTCC champion Jason Plato, McLaren head of vehicle engineering Mark Williams, 1997 Award winner Andrew Kirkaldy, leading circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, and Motorsport News editor Kevin Turner.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Autosport Awards on 7 December, and will receive £100,000, a test in a McLaren Formula One car, full BRDC membership, and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon helmet. 

Of the last 12 finalists for the award, the BRDC F4 Championship has had a direct involvement with six of the drivers, with Jake Hughes, Charlie Robertson and Morris selected in 2013.