Team Lotus has announced today that Luiz Razia will act as the squad's third driver this season.
Razia will combine his 2011 GP2 Team AirAsia commitments with his role with Tony Fernandes' F1 outfit and he will also take part in a number of Friday practice sessions. Fellow GP2 Team AirAsia man Davide Valsecchi will also get the chance to run in Friday free practice, although he has just been named as a tester, as opposed to third driver.
In addition to the appointment of Razia and Valsecchi, Team Lotus has also re-signed Ricardo Teixeira as a second test driver to continue his 'long-term development program' with the squad.
“We are very pleased to have confirmed that Luiz, Davide and Ricardo will all be extending their relationships with the Team Lotus family by filling the roles of Third Driver and Test Drivers respectively for the 2011 season,” said Team Lotus CEO, Riad Asmat.
“Luiz and Davide's efforts have helped Team AirAsia enjoy a very strong start to its debut season and their roles with Team Lotus will give them invaluable experience of the highest level of global motorsport which will help their natural talents develop in the right direction.
“Ricardo has already learnt a huge amount from his two runs in our car in pre-season testing and we are very excited about seeing Luiz, Davide and Ricardo continue to grow with us throughout 2011 and beyond and the whole team is looking forward to working with them.”
Razia and Valsecchi are both pleased to be part of the Team Lotus F1 set-up and to get the chance to work alongside Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.
“I am absolutely delighted to have confirmed my role as third driver for Team Lotus,” Razia added. “Both Team Lotus and Team AirAsia have very exciting futures ahead and now I also have an excellent chance to build on my F1 experience.
“I've been able to bring that experience to the GP2 championship already and I'm sure that with the calibre of people involved in both Team AirAsia and Team Lotus we will achieve success very soon and be challenging for points, podiums and race wins whenever possible.”
Valsecchi added: “I am so happy to be part of both Team Lotus and Team AirAsia this season. They are both fantastic teams with a great amount of experience and I will learn a huge amount, on and off track. I'm excited about the Friday practice sessions ahead and I'll do my best to help Team Lotus keep moving forward and absorb as much as I can from the F1 team.”
Meanwhile, Teixeira has thanked Team Lotus for the opportunity to continue with the squad: “On both my outings in Spain I took big steps forward as a racing driver, and I am very excited about the chance to play an active role in the growth of the team over the coming years. There is a very special atmosphere in Team Lotus and to be able to represent my country as the first Angolan in F1 in this team means a huge amount to me personally, to my family and my whole country,” he summed-up.