Alex Dunne joins McLaren Driver Development programme

The McLaren Formula One team recently announced that Offaly teenager Alex Dunne has joined their driver development programme, making him the first Irish Driver to be part of a Grand Prix teams’ young driver programme.

Currently driving in his maiden Formula 3 season, Dunne is a former British Formula 4 champion and runner up in both the British F3 and Italian F4 series. The Harris Group backed driver has made an excellent start to his first season in F3 as he builds his experience of racing in a Grand Prix support class for the first time.

Alex’s involvement in the McLaren Driver Development programme will see him join the team’s talent pipeline, which was established in 2022, following the team’s long history of developing talent in motorsport and has an overarching aim of helping drivers progress towards Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E. The programme is led by F1 Business Operations Director Stephanie Carlin who was pleased to announce that Alex had joined the McLaren Driver Development programme and added that he was an exciting and promising young talent with a proven track record in Junior categories, including this season in F3.

Speaking about his McLaren opportunity, Dunne called joining the team an “honour” and believes it is the “perfect” place for him to grow as a driver. “It’s an honour to join the McLaren Driver Development programme and I’m looking forward to getting started with the team,” said Dunne. “McLaren provides the perfect environment for me to develop my skillset as I continue my journey in motorsport. I’m grateful for Zak and Stephanie’s support and I’m excited to meet the rest of the team at MTC (McLaren Technology Centre).”

Alex will continue to race in Formula 3 this season, wearing the McLaren colours and he aims to repay the teams support by continuing his strong progress in F3 this season before an intended move into F2 in 2025, as the final stepping stone on his way to racing in Formula One.


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FIA F3 Rounds 3 & 4, Melbourne, Australia – March 22-24 – event details

You can follow Alex’s progress through Rounds 3 & 4 of the FIA F3 Championship on March 22nd – 24th, using the links below.

The event begins with practice and qualifying on Friday followed by Round 3 on Saturday and Round 4 on Sunday (Saturday evening Irish time).

Free Practice: 21:50 – 22:30
Qualifying 1: 03:00 – 03:30

Sprint Race: 00:10
Feature Race 20:05



TV Coverage – Sky Sports F1


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Alex dunne today announced his move to the FIA F3 Championship for the 2024 season after agreeing a deal to join MP Motorsport.

Across his first two years in car racing, the Irish teenager has already amassed an impressive 19 race victories, 35 podium finishes and 12 pole positions, demonstrating both his race craft and blistering one-lap pace. After making his debut in single-seaters in 2021, Dunne completed a dual campaign in Formula 4 in ’22, winning the British title with a new record for wins in a single season. Dunne graduated last year to GB3, finishing narrowly as runner-up in the final standings.

Now, the competition will go up another notch as Dunne prepares to battle it out against the best of his generation from all four corners of the globe in his sternest challenge to-date. But in his corner, the 18-year-old has renowned Dutch team MP Motorsport. Regular race winners and front-runners in both Formula 3 and Formula 2 machinery, the team’s talent pathway has helped guide the careers of several stars in recent times, including Felipe Drugovich, Victor Martins, Christian Lundgaard, and Liam Lawson, to name a few.

All rounds of the FIA Formula 3 Championship run in support of Formula 1 ® Grand Prix weekends, putting Dunne on the perfect platform to attract the attention of the sport’s elite names. Sakhir, Bahrain sets the stage for the season opener on 1-2 March, with a subsequent ‘fly away’ at Albert Park, Melbourne three weeks later. After a month break, the European leg of the calendar includes trips to Imola, the iconic streets of Monaco, Barcelona, Spielberg, Silverstone, the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps, where Dunne claimed a dominant double win last campaign. The season finale takes place at Monza on 31 August-1 September.

Alex Dunne (#22) said:
“I’m very excited to confirm I’ll be racing in FIA Formula 3 for 2024. I’m grateful to MP Motorsport, my sponsors and, of course, my family, for helping to put this programme together. “It’s going to be an incredibly competitive championship, with 30 cars per race weekend and the best drivers at this level behind the wheel, but I’m determined to learn quickly and progress from there. “To race on Formula 1 weekends is going to be a new experience for me, but I’m really looking forward to getting going in Bahrain in March.”

To follow Alex’s progress see All races are broadcast live on the Sky Sports F1 channel.


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Alex Dunne makes extrodinary F3 debut

Alex Dunne produced an extraordinary performance on his F3 and Macau Grand Prix debut to take second place in Saturday’s first race of two. Having started from sixth on the grid Dunne achieved the almost impossible, around the tight street circuit, by picking off four of his more experienced competitors to move from sixth on the grid through to challenge for the race win.

Saturday’s race saw Dunne make a brilliant first F3 race start to move up to fourth place on the run to the first tight corner, before he was then best on the brakes to take third place. Following a safety car period Dunne was again on the move at the restart and almost got by both lead cars on the opening lap before eventually slotting in to second place.

Once clear in second Alex initially put the race leader, Luke Browning, under pressure, but with the results of Saturday’s encounter deciding the grid for Sunday’s race, Alex settled for second and a front row start for his first appearance in the Macau Grand Prix.

The F3 rookie’s getaway in Sunday’s main race was not as good as Saturday’s and he found himself on the outside of a queue of cars heading into turn 1. With no gap in the traffic to get back in line, Alex ran out of room on the outside and his Macau debut ended in the barrier.

Despite his early retirement the Irish teenager could still leave Macau with his head held high as on one of the most daunting tracks in world motorsport he was easily the most impressive Macau and F3 rookie in the field.



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Alex confirms Macau Grand Prix debut

GB3 Championship runner-up Alex Dunne is the latest graduate of the UK’s leading single-seater category to confirm his place on the grid for this year’s FIA Formula 3 World Cup at the Macau Grand Prix.

The Irishman won five races in GB3 this year with Hitech Pulse-Eight, as he took the title fight to the very last race of the year at Donington Park. The 17-year-old then gained his first experience of the FIA F3 car to be used at Macau, in post-season testing at Imola, where he posted the fastest time in the final session.

Dunne has now opted to remain with Hitech as he takes on the challenges of the Armco-lined Guia Circuit next weekend (16-19 November), as the Macau GP celebrates its 70th event.

Previous winners of the event include Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato.


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GB3 Finale, Donington October 21st & 22nd 2023

You can follow Alex’s progress through the final event of the 2023 GB3 Championship at Donington Park, on October 21st & 22nd, using the links below.

The event begins with qualifying on Saturday morning, followed by Race 1, with races 2 & 3 on Sunday.

Qualifying: 10:50 – 11:10
Race 1: 14:57 – 15:17

Race 2: 10:07 – 10:27
Race 3: 15:20 – 15:45


LIVESTREAM – Available Saturday & Sunday


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