Sahara Force India have announced that their 17-year-old Russian development driver, Nikita Mazepin will drive the VJM09 at the two-day test session after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Mazepin will drive both days of the test that will take place on the 12/13 July, the Russian driver who competes in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Hi-Tech Racing, only recently became Force India’s development driver in February has already impressed Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr Vijay Mallaya.
“In Just a few months since his announcement as a development driver, Nikita has shown a great level of technical understanding to go with his driving skills”.
The 17-year-old has already experienced Formula One after visiting several Formula One events and has begun an extensive simulator programme with the team.
The Silverstone test gives young development drivers first-hand experience of Formula One and allows the team to gather useful data and a first look of the next generation of Formula One drivers.
Mazepin has praised Force India for giving him the opportunity to help the team and showcase his talent as a driver. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to test the VJM09 at Silverstone. There’s no doubt it will be the biggest moment of my career and it’s something I’ve been working my whole life”.
The 17-year-old Russian joins highly regarded Force India test driver, Alfonso Celis Jr. who has driven in several free practice sessions this Formula One season. The Silverstone test is extremely important for Force India as testing is limited, every lap counts and there is a huge responsibility for Mazepin to perform at a high standard and to complete the test session without any mistakes.
Mazepin caused controversy earlier this year when he punched fellow F3 competitor Callum Ilott after an altercation in practice, as a result he was banned for 1 race in Hungary.