Wickens will officially assume the duties of reserve driver from next week’s Canadian Grand Prix. The Virgin Racing squad do already have a reserve driver in former-Hispania pilot, Sakon Yamamoto; however little has been seen of the Japanese driver since he signed to the team earlier this year.
For a time, Wickens was one of many Red Bull junior drivers, until they parted company at the end of 2009 after an unsuccessful championship campaign in Formula 2. However, an impressive showing in the GP3 Series last year raised the stock of the 22-year-old.
Following a tough start to 2010 with Status Grand Prix, Wickens powered his way through the second half to the season, taking three victories and several points finishes to give the Canadian runner-up spot to Esteban Gutierrez.
Virgin’s team principal, John Booth, yesterday expressed his delight with his latest signing:
“Robert Wickens is a very impressive young driver who is currently going great guns in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. His fantastic performances so far this season are testimony to the fact that he has a bright future ahead of him. Robert will join us trackside at Grands Prix for as many races as his schedule will allow and in turn he will have the benefit of working closely with our race drivers and engineers as we develop our car and our team through the rest of the season.”
Wickens currently sits 2nd in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, having taken a feature race victory at Spa-Francorchamps, as well three other runner-up finishes. The Canadian is only a single point behind Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, with Alexander Rossi in close pursuit.