George Russell to drive for Force India in Brazilian GP Practice One
19-year-old Briton to make first appearance in Grand Prix weekend in place of Sergio Perez; Russell to also drive in first practice at Abu Dhabi GP
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 16/11/17 10:53am
George Russell will drive for Force India in Practice One at the Brazilian GP, the team have announced.
The Briton, who won this year's GP3 championship and is a Mercedes junior, will make his debut in a Grand Prix weekend at Interlagos, stepping in for senior driver Sergio Perez.
The 19-year-old will also drive the VJM10 in first practice in Abu Dhabi in place of Esteban Ocon.
"I'm extremely excited to be driving in free practice for Sahara Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi," Russell said.
"2017 has already been a year full of great opportunities and to top off the season with these two outings feels fantastic.
"I've never driven the VJM10 before or driven at Interlagos, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
Russell, a former BRDC F4 champion, wrapped up the 2017 GP3 title with a round to spare in his debut season.
He joined Mercedes' young driver programme at the start of the year and made his F1 debut in the Hungary in-season test in August.
Russell is expected to make the step up to Formula 2 in 2018.
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya said: "George is an up-and-coming talent and we've followed his success in GP3 closely.
"George has already been in our simulator several times and has worked well with the team.
"Now that we have secured fourth place in the championship, it's the ideal time to look to the future and handing George his free practice debut will allow us to evaluate his potential."
George Russell's career in profile
|2014||BRDC F4 Championship||Lanan Racing||1st|
|2014||Formula Renault 2.0 Alps||Koiranen GP||4th|
|2015||European F3 Championship||Carlin||6th|
|2015||Masters of F3||Carlin||2nd|
|2016||European F3 Championship||HitechGP||3rd|
|2016||Macau Grand Prix||HitechGP||7th|
|2017||GP3 Series||ART Grand Prix||1st|
Russell's journey so far
Russell is part of a talented crop of British youngsters coming through the ranks and the announcement comes a day after Lando Norris was confirmed as McLaren's official test and reserve driver.
And his appearance in Brazil will come just over a year after he thought his dream of driving in Formula 1 was over.
"At the start of 2016 I was quite sure that my Formula 1 dream was over," he said on the F1 Report last month. "I had no links with F1 teams and I was setting my sights on DTM, and then suddenly everything changes.
"It all started when I drove in Formula 3 and I switched teams to Hitech for the 2016 season who ran the Mercedes engine.
"They phoned me up one day to do simulator work in Brackley. I did two days in a simulator as a bit of an assessment and things snowballed from there. At the end of the season they told me I'd immediately be part of their young driver programme, and they'd be putting me in GP3 with ART.
"It's all about timing in this sport, but all you can do is just keep performing. It sometimes feels like it's not going to happen but if you keep performing, beating your team-mates, winning races, it's all you can do."