Scuderia Coloni has confirmed that 17-year-old Italian racing driver Kevin Ceccon will be driving for them at this weekend's GP2 feature and sprint races at Barcelona.
Ceccon replaces regular driver Davide Rigon, who suffered multiple fractures to the tibia and fibula of his left leg following an accident triggered by Rapax driver Julian Leal on the main straight toward the end of the GP2 series sprint race in Turkey.
Rigon needed surgery the following day for his injuries, which inserted over 20 pins into the shattered area. Now back home in Italy, Rigon is expected to need a long period away from racing to recuperate and rehabilitate. While doctors remain cautious about the prognosis for his eventual return to racing, some reports suggest Rigon could be out of commission for at least six months.
Despite his age - he'll become the youngest driver in this year's GP2 field when he takes to the track in Barcelona on Friday - Kevin Ceccon represents something of a safe pair of hands and a known quantity to the Coloni team, who are understandably still reeling from what happened to Rigon.
Ceccon took part in the two of the four days of post-season testing in 2010 with Coloni at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. After that time with the team, he then switched to DPR for the remaining two days of the test. His previous racing experience has been in the Italian Formula Three championship and the European F3 Open Championship, in which he finished in fourth place in 2010.
The young Italian - who hails from Clusone in the north of the country - is currently racing for Ombra Racing in AutoGP and is in fourth place after two races, finishing on the podium in Monza at the weekend.
"I think Kevin is the most interesting young Italian driver around at the moment," said team boss Paolo Coloni, who said he was delighted at being able to give Ceccon a chance to establish himself at the next level up. "He did a good job to finish in the top three at Monza."
As well as this weekend's appearance at Barcelona, Ceccon will also be given an outing at Spa-Francorchamps in the GP2 series event there on the last weekend in August.
"These two races will be a great chance to prepare himself for the 2012 season," said Coloni.
It's unclear what the squad intend to do for a driver for the remainder of the races over the summer, with Monaco scheduled for the final weekend in May. GP2 then takes a month off before Valencia, which is scheduled near the end of June.
Ceccon's team mate at Barcelona will be Coloni's Romanian full-season signing, Michael Herck.