Ex-Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg has created his own driver development programme, aimed at being able to “find and support new talent in motorsport”.
The 2016 F1 world champion has recruited two kart racers for the launch of the Rosberg Young Drivers Academy, with backing from Mercedes F1 partner Petronas.
Rosberg has joined forces with his former karting mentor Dino Chiesa, who ran the ‘Mercedes-Benz-McLaren’ MBM team for Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in 2000-01.
“Dino is the best in the karting world and I believe in the performance of Dino's own Kart Republic Chassis which we will be using,” said Rosberg, who launched the project in Italy last weekend.
“He was my boss in all my international karting years. The most successful year was when Lewis and I were in Team MBM and Dino lead us to great successes.
“We have been friends ever since, so it is special to now join forces to support the stars of the future.”
British racer Taylor Barnard (13) and Italian Lorenzo Travisanutto (18) are the first two drivers to be signed up, with Rosberg adding “we look forward to taking on the karting world together”.
Chiesa added: “Today the development of a driver is not only turning the steering wheel. It's more than that. It's more about engineering, marketing and media.
“That's why I believe that Nico and I are a good mix to support talent.”