Virgin Racing has finally ended months of speculation by announcing that Formula Renault 3.5 frontrunner Robert Wickens has been signed to the team’s reserve driver line-up.
The 22-year-old Canadian joins Sakon Yamamoto on the reserves bench, with the announcement neatly timed just a week before his home Grand Prix at Montreal.
Born in Toronto, Wickens was runner-up in last year’s GP3 Series championship, a year after he finished runner-up in the FIA Formula 2 championship. This year driving for the Carlin team in the Formula Renault 2.5 championship, Wickens has achieved four podiums (including one win) and three pole positions.
Wickens enjoys the backing of Russian sports car maker Marussia Motors, which is also a principal investor in the Virgin Racing outfit.
“Robert Wickens is a very impressive young driver who is currently going great guns in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, so we are delighted to welcome him to Marussia Virgin Racing’s roster of Reserve Drivers,” Virgin Racing team principal John Booth is quoted in a team press release.
“His fantastic performances so far this season are testimony to the fact that he has a bright future ahead of him. Robert will join us trackside at Grands Prix for as many races as his schedule will allow and in turn he will have the benefit of working closely with our race drivers and engineers as we develop our car and our team through the rest of the season.”
“I am delighted to be confirmed as a Reserve Driver with Marussia Virgin Racing. It’s an exciting time for me and Canadian motorsport,” Wickens added.
“The support of Marussia Motors and the Marussia Virgin Racing team has been fantastic, and I am dedicated to repaying that faith in me by contributing everything I can to assist the team’s objectives in Formula One this year.”
The team did not use the announcement to confirm if Wickens would participate in any Friday free practice sessions during this year’s Formula 1 season.
[Images via LAT]