Rodolfo Gonzalez will get to drive for Marussia during practice for the F1 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, it has been confirmed.
Gonzalez, who is set to run in FP1 at 'several' races this season, will take over the MR02 of Jules Bianchi. Bianchi will return to the cockpit for FP2.
“I'm really happy with this opportunity to drive in my first FP1 session of the season,” said Gonzalez, who was confirmed as Marussia's official reserve and test driver just prior to the season opener in Australia last month.
“It will be a nice feeling to be back in a car – especially to drive a F1 car again – and with my previous F1 experience I feel more than comfortable and ready.
“I love this circuit; it will be quite dusty in FP1 but it's also good fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can achieve. I would like to thank the team for their faith in me. They have made me feel so welcome and have bent over backwards to involve me in every aspect of the racing.”
Marussia team principal, John Booth added: “We are pleased to welcome our reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez to the car for his first FP1 session of the season.
“On this occasion he will take over from Jules for the morning but we will see him taking part in this session at several of the races this season and we will alternate between the two cars. We wish him well and look forward to getting our first opportunity to gauge his performance level in the MR02.”
“This track represents a different challenge from Shanghai,” Booth continued, “but both [race] drivers have raced here before in the junior formulae, so factors like the track conditions – the heat, the wind, the sand – are not a completely unknown quantity for them. From a team point of view we'll need to work hard to achieve the right compromise of car set-up, to manage the grip level and cooling demands. The asphalt can also be quite abrasive here, so it will be interesting to see how the tyre story unfolds here through the weekend.
“We experienced a few frustrations in Shanghai which we are determined to iron out here so that we give ourselves the opportunity to properly showcase our developments and maintain a clearer picture of where we are in respect to the cars ahead.”