Sergey Sirotkin will return to the wheel of a Formula 1 car this weekend after securing an FP1 outing with Renault for his home Russian Grand Prix in a deal that sees him come on board as development driver too.
The GP2 front runner made his F1 bow with Sauber during the inaugural Russian Grand Prix event in Sochi in 2014, at which time he was little-known, but has since gone on to establish himself as 'one to watch' for the future after finishing third overall in GP2 last season.
Having replaced 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne at ART Grand Prix for the 2016 GP2 season, which gets underway in Spain next month, Sirotkin will prepare by getting behind the wheel of the Renault RS16 in Sochi once more.
'This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly,” the 20 year-old said. “I still can't quite believe it. This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, doing the best possible job for the team while driving in Free Practice 1."
Furthermore, Sirotkin will join Renault as a test and development driver for the 2016 season, alongside Esteban Ocon.
“Renault Sport, which I would like to thank, has shown many times that it is the best place for a driver to start his Formula One career, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity. My commitment to challenge for the GP2 Series title will be enhanced by such a great chance and I would like to thank SMP Racing for the great support given to my career, commencing in Sochi, in front of my compatriots.”
With Sirotkin driving in place of Kevin Magnussen, Renault F1 team manager Frederic Vasseur is delighted to be giving one of Russia's leading talents a chance to shine on home soil.
“Sergey is one of the most promising drivers from the junior categories so it is great for us that he is joining Renault Sport. We saw that he was the most promising rookie in the GP2 Series last season, where he achieved a race win and podiums, and for 2016 he is very well placed to fight for the title. He has driven the Sochi Autodrom in a GP2 Series car previously so we have confidence in the job he will be able to do for us this weekend.”