Force India has announced the signing of 16-year-old Russian driver Nikita Mazepin in a development driver role.
Mazepin graduated from karts last year after securing second place in the 2014 CIK-FIA World Championship, going on to finish in 12th place in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. Force India says Mazepin will receive "an extensive development programme" which will include "regular simulator sessions and attendance at various race events".
Mazepin will race in European F3 this year and says the opportunity to work with an F1 team from such a young age will allow him to develop more quickly.
“It’s an incredible feeling to join Sahara Force India," Mazepin said. "It’s the biggest step in my career and I want to thank Vijay [Mallya] and everyone in the team for giving me this opportunity. I’m still young and I have a lot to learn, so the guidance and experience of Sahara Force India is really important for my development.
"My goal is to race in Formula One in the future and today’s news takes me closer to achieving that objective. I will work hard to help the team and do everything I can to improve my skills on and off the track.”