It was announced this morning by the Force India team that its development driver, Nikita Mazepin, will drive the VJM09 at the test session following the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. The 17-year-old Russian will drive both days of the test, which will take place on the 12th and 13th of July.
Mazepin, who was announced in his development role with the team in February, is currently competing in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Hi-Tech Racing. He has already attended several Formula One events with the team this season and has begun an extensive simulator programme at the team’s Silverstone HQ.
In a statement to the media this morning, Mazepin is extremely delighted to have the opportunity to test for the team at the in-season test, understands the importance and wants to do the best job possible. Mazepin stated the following:-
‘I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to test the VJM09 at Silverstone. There’s no doubt it will be the biggest moment of my career and it’s something I’ve been working towards my whole life. It’s been a few months since I joined the team and I feel ready for this opportunity. I know it’s an important test for the team and they will be counting on me to do a good job, so I will work hard to make sure we achieve our objectives.’
In a separate statement to the media, Force India Team Prinicpal Vijay Mallya is happy to have selected Mazepin for the opportunity and feels that this decision is best for the team and Nikita especially. Mallya added the following:-
‘In just a few months since his announcement as a development driver, Nikita has shown a great level of technical understanding to go with his driving skills. His progress in our simulator has been excellent and to be in the car during this test is the next step in his natural progression within the team. We are looking forward to working with him in Silverstone.’