Good news today for Sakon Yamamoto, who has been announced as Virgin Racing’s official reserve driver for the opening three races of the 2011 season.
The Marussia-backed outfit confirmed that the 28-year-old’s deal extended to “observing the race drivers and attending all engineering meetings to ensure he is up to speed should there be an occasion where a last minute substitution is required,” as quoted by team boss John Booth.
Yamamoto – who has previously for the likes of Super Aguri and Spyker – returned to the F1 grid last year with Hispania Racing after a two-year absence.
Yamamoto has been a key driver behind a possible F1 fundraising effort for the victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, and it is believed that the drivers will meet on Friday to discuss appropriate courses of action.
“As everyone is aware it is a very difficult time in Japan right now and any good news is much welcomed,” Yamamoto said of his appointment.
“I hope the people back home will feel positive about my latest F1 role as I would like to do everything possible to help them.”
Despite being limited to a role on the sidelines in Melbourne, Yamamoto could get an outing in the MVR-02 cockpit at either Malaysia or China.
“Our reserve driver strategy is to help a number of drivers gain hard-to-come-by track time and so we will be operating a roster featuring a number of racers that we are interested in evaluating during the forthcoming season,” added Booth.
[Original image via Flickr]