Will Stevens officially confirmed at Marussia, but paperwork delays F1 debut
Briton had been set to drive during Practice One at Suzuka
By William Esler
Last Updated: 03/10/14 5:22am
Will Stevens was officially confirmed as a Marussia test driver ahead of Practice One in Japan, but missed out on making his F1 debut due to a postal delay.
The 23-year-old meets the qualifying criteria for an FIA Super Licence having completed the necessary mileage at the Young Driver Test with Caterham in 2013 followed by another outing at this year’s Silverstone test. However, industrial action prevented the necessary paperwork being lodged with the Contract Recognition Board in Switzerland , blocking Stevens from running at Suzuka.
Four races of the current campaign remain after the Japanese GP and Marussia say Stevens “will take part in a number of Free Practice 1 sessions” although it would seem likely that both race drivers will want maximum track time at the new Sochi circuit next weekend, whilst Alexander Rossi may be given the nod at his home race in Austin.
“I’m really thrilled to be given this opportunity by the Marussia F1 Team. They are a great team, with enormous potential, and I’m so happy to be joining them at this exciting time in their development,” Stevens said.
“Off the back of my F1 tests with Caterham, I can’t wait to get my first taste of the MR03. I’m looking forward to rewarding their faith in me and to making a positive contribution to our progress in the 2014 championship, and beyond.”
Stevens has previous experience of Marussia having driven for Manor Competition who operate the team during his 2010 Formula Renault UK campaign.
“Will is a driver we have been watching since he arrived in Formula Renault,” Team Principal John Booth added.
“We have admired his ability to learn quickly and compete in the thick of the action, so we are very pleased to add him to our roster of Official Reserve Drivers, which is now looking very strong indeed.
“It is great to be able to take such promising talents as Will and Alexander under our wing and help them progress to the next level. We look forward to seeing Will perform in the MR03, when I am sure he will demonstrate some further signs of his obvious potential."
Stevens currently sits sixth in the Formula Renault 3.5 standings and told Sky Sports Online in August that: "I feel ready for an F1 opportunity in 2015 and we are working on some options to enable me to achieve that."