Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado will get his first taste of Formula One machinery later this month, completing a rapid rise through the ranks with a Minardi test at Misano on 25 November.

The Formula Renault V6 regular, who tested impressively in F3000 last week, joins a list of other prospective pilots - and joins a select list of Venezuelans to have driven an F1 car, and the first since Johnny Cecotto, who last competed in 1983. In 2001, the now 19-year old was racing karts for the factory Tony Kart operation, before moving up through the Formula Renault ranks in Italy.

"I am moved by this opportunity," Maldonado confessed, "I really did not expect it to happen so soon. However, on the same note, I will take full advantage of the opportunity. I first met Giancarlo Minardi in May, and it was nice to see him again when I had a seat fitting at the factory on Thursday.

"I have a very tight calendar in the next few weeks, because, on Friday, I will test with the Durango F3000 team at Misano and then travel immediately to China to compete in the Macau FRenault GP on 21 November. The Minardi test changes my schedule slightly - as now I will fly back from Macau the following day after the race to make sure I am in Italy on time."

Maldonado is expected to share driving duties with other F1 rookies Robert Kubica - an old rival from karting - Damien Pasini, Wills Power and Davison, Olivier Maximin and Ronnie Quintarelli. Regular Minardi testers Tiago Monteiro and Sergei Zlobin are also expected to run in the course of the team's four day outing [22-26 November].

Despite getting the chance to try a Formula One car, Maldonado has said that he hopes to be racing in the new GP2 category next year, having created a favourable impression on his two formal F3000 tests with Arden and BCN in Portugal and Spain last week. He will be back in an F3000 car next week, when he is reunited with the Durango team that gave countryman Ernesto Viso a handful of races this season. The Italian team also granted Maldonado his first F3000 outing, in a private test at Brno last month.