Marussia Virgin has announced that Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Charles Pic and reserve driver Robert Wickens will join the team for next week's Young Driver Test.
Quaife-Hobbs (pictured) will get the test underway on the first morning (Tuesday) as his reward for being the best classified Marussia Manor Racing driver in the 2011 GP3 Championship. After carrying out two straight-line aero tests for the team earlier in the year - in Idiada, Spain and at RAF Cottesmore, UK - this will be his third foray behind the wheel of the MVR-02 but his first outing in the car at a Formula One circuit.
For Frenchman Charles Pic this will be the first time he has driven an F1 car. He will take over the reins of the MVR-02 on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a further day of running on Wednesday. The 21 year-old finished 4th in this year's GP2 Series Championship, securing two race wins, five podiums and three pole positions along the way.
Earlier today Robert Wickens was given a further opportunity to show what he can do in the MVR-02 when he took over for Free Practice 1. This was a reward for winning the World Series by Renault FR3.5 Championship last month. He will now join next week's test on Thursday, the third and final day of running.
"We're delighted to be able to offer Adrian, Charles and our Robert Wickens seat time in the MVR-02 next week," said John Booth, "and in return we look forward to some convincing performances from all of them. The Young Driver Test is a fantastic opportunity to see the cream of the next generation of talent in action for the various teams and to enable them to demonstrate that they have what it takes to progress to the highest level of motorsport. In the meantime of course, we've also had Robert in the car for Free Practice 1 today and it's been very rewarding to see him in action. We'll be keeping a close eye on all of them during the week ahead."
"I can't wait to drive the Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One car again," said Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. "I'm even more excited this time out as I'll get the chance to run at a proper racing circuit and show more of what I can do. I'm going to enjoy the experience but at the same time I want to learn as much as possible with the team as it's an important stepping stone for the future."
"I'd like to thank Marussia Virgin Racing for this opportunity to test a Formula One car for the first time," added Charles Pic. "It's going to be a very special moment for me, one I have been waiting for my whole racing career! Formula 1 is my goal so I will be putting everything I have into the test and look forward to the experience of working with the team and learning as much as I can from them."
"My feet haven't really touched the ground since I won the FR3.5 Championship last month," said Robert Wickens, 2and as a result I have some great opportunities here in Abu Dhabi this weekend and also in the test next week. It's been fantastic to run in the MVR-02 for Free Practice 1 today and then I'll get another full day in the car next Thursday. It's been a very positive year working with Marussia Virgin Racing, so it's great to get these chances and show that I'm ready for the next level."