2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer has been named Manor reserve driver for the rest of this season.
Leimer raced in the World Endurance Championship last season following his GP2 success having been unable to secure an F1 role at the time, and was due to race in Super Formula this year but his contract was terminated before the start of the season. The Swiss driver has now been named reserve at Manor and will drive for the team in a number of FP1 sessions between now and the end of the season.
“I’m thrilled to be provided with this opportunity and I’d like to thank the Manor Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in my ability," Leimer said.
"In particular I’m very excited to have the chance to drive the car in selected FP1s, but I am also looking forward to spending a lot of time trackside with the team, contributing my observations and experience in engineering situations and also learning about the team and a Formula 1 operation. It’s a huge step for me and I can’t wait to get started and hopefully reward the team’s confidence in me.”
Team principal John Booth says he has been an admirer of Leimer throughout his career in junior categories and wants to ensure he is prepared to race if required.
“We’re delighted to welcome Fabio to our team," Booth said. "We always keep a close eye on drivers competing in the feeder series and their potential for making the step up to Formula 1. Fabio has been on that radar for a number of years, so we’re pleased to give him the opportunity to progress as he is a very talented driver and certainly deserving of this opportunity.
"Fabio will be joining us at selected races for the rest of the season, contributing to engineering meetings and on hand to substitute for either race driver should they be unable to compete at any stage. Familiarity with the car is therefore important, so we plan to run Fabio in a number of opening free practice sessions this season, allowing us to further evaluate his potential.”
Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi are Manor's current race drivers, but Merhi does not have a contract which covers the full 2015 season.
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