Raffaele Marciello says he’s is excited to make his official F1 grand prix weekend debut in Malaysia, with the Sauber reserve driver scheduled to take part in the first free practice session at Sepang.
The Hinwill-based team has confirmed the Ferrari protégé will get his first taste of the C34 around the 3.4-mile circuit. Marciello, who has switched to Trident over the winter for a second year in GP2, will replace regular driver Felipe Nasr before the Brazilian takes over in FP2.
The 2013 FIA European F3 champion’s maiden F1 outing came with Ferrari during last year’s post-season tests in Abu Dhabi after he had finished eighth in his first GP2 Series campaign. The 20-year-old will be the first Italian to drive in a grand prix weekend since Jarno Trulli last raced in 2011.
"It will be exciting to drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time," said Marciello. "That will also be the same for the Italians, as we have not had an Italian driver in Formula One for quite a few years.
"I will definitely enjoy the experience, and I am really looking forward to it. I am confident I can do a good job as well as supporting the team in order to find a set-up for the car which suits the track.”
Sauber currently sits third in the Constructors’ standings following a strong double point finish in Australia where F1 debutant Felipe Nasr secured P5 while team-mate Marcus Ericsson finished eighth.
These solid initial results were all the more welcomed after the Swiss outfit experienced a torrid pointless 2014 campaign, and had to deal with the Giedo van der Garde legal row that almost jeopardised its season opener.