2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Virgin will given Canadian Robert Wickens his first run in an F1 car at a race weekend in Abu Dhabi.
The team said Wickens is being given the drive as a reward for winning the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year.
He will drive Jerome d’Ambrosio’s car in the first practice session on the Yas Marina track.
Wickens said: “This year just keeps getting better and better and I can’t thank Marussia enough for their continued support.
“The Vairano test was a good grounding for me but the opportunity to kick things up a gear in a Free Practice session is obviously the next big step in my career and I hope my feedback will have a positive benefit on the team’s performance there.”
Team principal John Booth said: “Robert has had a fantastic season in Formula Renault 3.5 and was the deserving victor of a hard-fought championship.
“One of the founding principles of our Young Driver Programme was that we would reward success with important seat time to aid the progression of our rising stars through the ranks.
“Abu Dhabi is a track at which Jerome has good experience as he ran there in the same Friday morning practice session a year ago and then in the Young Driver Test the following week. The Yas Marina Circuit therefore presents a better opportunity to provide this reward to Robert as there will be less impact on our engineering programme.”
Image © Virgin Racing