Charles Pic’s Renault connections have helped him secure a seat as the Lotus F1 Team’s third driver for the 2014 Formula 1 season. Nicolas Prost and Marco Sørensen will serve as the team’s other test drivers.
Pic, who parted ways with Caterham after a single season with the Leafield-based outfit, was confirmed as part of the team’s line-up during an official team presentation in the Bahrain pit lane on Thursday afternoon.
He will serve as the team’s stand-in driver in the event that either of its regulars, Romain Grosjean or Pastor Maldonado, are unable to compete during a Grand Prix.
“I am very excited to join a top team and Lotus F1 Team have certainly shown that they are a top team in this sport,” he said.
“It’s a great honour and I will be working hard to give my best to the team throughout 2014.
“Obviously, the big change is that I won’t be racing in Formula 1, but I will be at the races and working in meetings which will help me develop and progress as a driver. At 24, I still have good potential for the future.”
Pic has long enjoyed the backing of Lotus’ engine partner, Renault, meaning his appointment – which coupled with the not unexpected announcement that Lotus and Renault will continue their partnership until 2018 – is perhaps no great surprise.
The Frenchman replaces the popular Davide Valsecchi, who left the team at the end of a two-year stint as the outfit’s scarcely-used reserve driver.
The former GP2 Series champion was openly critical of Lotus’ decision to overlook him in place of Heikki Kovalainen for the final two Grands Prix of last season, with the outburst all but ensuring that his contract would not be renewed for a third year. There were also suggestions that the Italian had not been paid for his services by the team during the 2013 season.
Image via XPB Images
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