Russell to make Formula 1 FP1 debut with Force India
2017 GP3 Series Champion George Russell will make his Formula One Weekend Free Practice debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend for the Sahara Force India F1 Team in the opening practice session of the weekend.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior Driver will drive the Force India VJM10 of Sergio Perez for FP1 at the Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Russell will get a second run out at the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in place of Esteban Ocon - again for Force India in FP1.
Rounding off his fantastic 2017 season so far, which has put him on the radar as one to watch in the near future - Russell is looking ahead to the chance to drive the VJM10 and the undulating Interlagos Circuit for the first time this weekend:
George Russell "I'm extremely excited to be driving in free practice for Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. 2017 has already been a year full of great opportunities and to top off the season with these two outings feels fantastic.
I've never driven the VJM10 before or driven at Interlagos, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Force India for this opportunity and also thank Mercedes for their continued support."
A well earned oppourtunity
Force India Boss Vijay Mallya was pleased to provide the newly-crowned GP3 Series Champion with his F1 weekend bow, after a hugely successful season, alongside his simulator work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas and the Sahara Force India Team:
Vijay Mallya "We are happy to give George this opportunity. He's an up-and-coming talent and we've followed his success in GP3 closely.
George has already been in our simulator several times and has worked well with the team. Now that we have secured fourth place in the championship, it's the ideal time to look to the future and handing George his free practice debut will allow us to evaluate his potential."
Looking forward to 2018
Russell, fresh off claiming the GP3 Series title with a complete round to spare is set to move up to FIA Formula 2 in the 2018 season and for a championship challenge as he makes the final steps up to a full-time seat in Formula One.
The plans for 2018 will be announced in due course.
This opportunity will be the second outing in Formula One machinery for the talented young Briton - as he made his F1 Testing bow in the mid season Budapest Test with Mercedes-AMG Petronas in the Team and Driver Championship winning W08.
The opening Free Practice session will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 HD at 12:00 on Friday 10th October, where you will catch Russell live in action during a Formula One weekend for the first time.