The Sauber F1 Team has announced that Hong Kong racer Adderly Fong will have his maiden Grand Prix outing when he drives for the Swiss team in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old recently qualified for his FIA SuperLicense after completing over 300 kilometres of track mileage in a two-year-old Sauber C31 at Valencia last month.
Fong has spent much of this year racing in the Audi R8 LMS Cup after a number of unconvincing seasons in junior open-wheelers where he no better than a backmarker in the GP3 Series. He’s proved far more successful in closed-cockpit racing, claiming three victories in the LMS Cup at Shanghai, Zhuhai and Macau.
“I am very excited about my Formula One debut in Abu Dhabi, but also at the same time a little bit nervous,” he said in the team’s preview media release of this weekend’s curtain-closing race at Yas Marina.
“Last month I drove the Sauber C31 for the first time in Valencia, and it was good to get the mileage to be able to familiarise myself with the speed of a Formula One car.
“Obviously the C33 is a bit different, as it is a new generation car with a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engine. It will be interesting to see how the ERS and the brake-by-wire systems work. As I will have only 90 minutes in FP1, I will not have a lot of time to get used to the car. However, being able to drive during a Formula One weekend is a great privilege, and I am very happy to have the opportunity. It is good that I already know the track as at the same time here last year I did a GP3 race.”
For the Sauber team, Fong’s signing is yet another indication of the team’s desperate financial plight. The team has endured the worst year in its history, failing to secure much-needed sponsorship investment along with a single top-ten finish. Unless it is out-finished by the equally ailing Caterham F1 Team this weekend, it will earn tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship by default, and be promoted to ninth when the FOM prizemoney is handed out thanks to the demise of the Marussia F1 Team.
The team has announced an all-new driver line-up for the 2015 season, securing the services of the very well-backed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr while bidding farewell to Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez.
Image via Adderly Fong