2014 BRDC Formula 4 champion George Russell was announced as the winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award (MABA) at a prize gala in London last night (Sunday 7 December). Sixteen-year-old Russell wins a sum of £100,000 to help him further his motor-racing career and an invitation to test a McLaren Grand Prix car – the perfect end to his sensational first season in car racing.
MABA was established in 1989 to recognise the achievements and potential of young British racing drivers, and was first awarded to David Coulthard, who went on to win 13 Formula 1 Grand Prix. Other recipients have included three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button.
BRDC Formula 4 has established itself as the top category for young drivers in this country, and since its inception in 2013 has produced half of the MABA nominees.
King’s Lynn-based Russell won five BRDC Formula 4 races with Lanan Racing this year and was a front-runner on every race weekend. He dealt with strong competition throughout the year to claim the title in a nail-biting season finale at his local circuit, Snetterton in Norfolk. He also enjoyed success in Europe, stunning the opposition with a dominant pole position, fastest lap and win in a Formula Renault Eurocup wildcard appearance at Jerez in Spain.
Russell was one of three BRDC Formula 4 graduates to be nominated for the life-changing McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. He was subjected to a rigorous evaluation process which included on-track tests in a McLaren 650S GT3, DTM-specification Mercedes, and a Formula Two single-seater, in addition to facing interviews with a panel of experts.
Russell commented: "I’m lost for words; it’s been a long wait since the two day test. A number of amazing drivers have won this award in the past and gone on to do fantastic things so I hope I can do the same as them."
BRDC President Derek Warwick added: "Every year its been tough as these drivers are better prepared and more professional. This guy was quite extraordinary right from the first day. He’s going to be a great champion and somebody we’ll all be watching."