The hugely impressive Robert Wickens will finally get a pukka outing in a Formula 1 car, with Virgin Racing confirming that it will field the Canadian in Friday practice at next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Wickens won this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 (World Series by Renault) title driving for Carlon Racing, narrowly beating team-mate and Toro Rosso reserve driver Jean-Éric Vergne to the crown.
To-date, the Canadian’s only F1 experience has been a straight-line test for the Russian-owned team at the Vairano circuit in Italy (pictured, top).
The news means he will become the first Canadian driver to pilot a Formula 1 car since Jacques Villeneuve’s last F1 outing at the 2006 German Grand Prix for BMW Sauber; Wickens will take over Jérôme d’Ambrosio’s car for the day’s first practice session.
“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to test with the team in a race weekend context and at a track like Abu Dhabi,” Wickens has said of the announcement.
“This year just keeps getting better and better and I can’t thank Marussia enough for their continued support.”
Wickens will be back in action a few days later at the three-day ‘Young Drivers’ test session, where he will drive for Renault, earned as a result of winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title.
[Image via Wheels]