Abu Dhabi GP: Esteban Ocon, Adderly Fong to make F1 practice debut

Formula 3 European champion Esteban Ocon will drive for the Lotus Formula 1 team in first free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

AUTOSPORT revealed in October that the Frenchman, who is part of Lotus's young driver programme, was in line for an expanded role with the Enstone-based outfit.

He shone in a test in a 2012 Lotus at Valencia, with the team saying he did an "exceptional" job, while Ferrari also praised him after he ran in an old car at Fiorano as part of his F3 title prize package.

Deputy team boss Federico Gastaldi said: "Esteban is a superb young talent and we are particularly excited to give him this opportunity.

"He impressed all our engineers when he drove for us in Valencia, but this will be another step in his development programme.

"It's great for us a team to support developing drivers, especially one with the potential of Esteban."

Ocon is tipped for a move up to GP2 next season, most likely with DAMS, and could take a reserve role with Lotus alongside that.

The 18-year-old will also drive for Lotus on the first day of the Abu Dhabi F1 test next Tuesday, before handing over to reserve driver Charles Pic for Wednesday.


Chinese racer Adderly Fong will also make his F1 practice debut this weekend, driving for Sauber.

Fong completed 99 laps in a 2012 Sauber C31 at Valencia in October, but his Abu Dhabi drive will be his first experience of contemporary F1 machinery.

"I am very excited about my Formula 1 debut in Abu Dhabi, but also at the same time a little bit nervous," said Fong, who has previous experience of the Yas Marina circuit from last year's GP3 finale.

Sauber says it will communicate which of its regular drivers will stand down for Fong later on Thursday.

The 24-year-old has spent 2014 racing in GP3 and the Asia-based Audi R8 LMS Cup.

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