Marussia Virgin Racing reserve driver and current Formula Renault 3.5 Championship leader Robert Wickens made his long-awaited F1 dÃ©but on Tuesday in a straight-line aero test in Vairano.
Although it was the third time this season the team had carried out such a test, it was the 22 year old Canadian’s maiden run in a Grand Prix car.
Wickens, who has a 34 point lead over Carlin team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne in Formula Renault 3.5, completed 210km in the MVR-02.
“It was great to work with the team in this way,” Wickens is quoted on the F1 team’s website. “Driving the car is obviously a natural step in my progression and education as a Reserve Driver with Marussia Virgin Racing. Like all drivers I'm eager for seat time and the work we did today undoubtedly plays an important role for the team in its aerodynamic development program. It was a good day and I was happy to sample the car for myself, albeit in a straight line, having watched Timo and JÃ©rÃ´me behind the wheel for the past couple of months!”
Marussia Virgin Racing Team Principal John Booth said: “It was a slow start to the day due to an issue with the engine, however the Cosworth technicians working with the team did a good job to solve the problem as quickly as possible. From that point on, the day ran pretty much to plan and we have been able to collect a huge amount of data to analyse. Robert also did a great job in his F1 testing debut. It was his first time in the MVR-02 car and he adapted very quickly to the controls and steering wheel. It has been a very positive experience for him which he has handled very well.”