Robert Wickens is to drive for Marussia Virgin Racing in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi GP.
The team says that the Canadian, who will stand in for Jerome D’Ambrosio, has been given the drive as a reward for winning the Renault 3.5 series. He has already driven the car in a straightline test at Vairano.
Wickens said: “This year just keeps getting better and better and I can’t thank Marussia enough for their continued support. The Vairano test was a good grounding for me, but the opportunity to kick things up a gear in a Free Practice session is obviously the next big step in my career and I hope my feedback will have a positive benefit on the team’s performance there.”
Announcing the news, John Booth said: “Robert has had a fantastic season in Formula Renault 3.5 and was the deserving victor of a hard-fought Championship. One of the founding principles of our Young Driver Programme was that we would reward success with important seat time to aid the progression of our rising stars through the ranks.
“Abu Dhabi is a track at which Jérôme has good experience as he ran there in the same Friday morning practice session a year ago and then in the Young Driver Test the following week. The Yas Marina Circuit therefore presents a better opportunity to provide this reward to Robert as there will be less impact on our engineering programme.
“We are also finalising our line-up for this year’s Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi and will announce this next week, but there again we look forward to putting the next generation of talent through their paces in what will be a tough test of their potential to progress to the highest level of motorsport.”