Will Stevens to make F1 debut racing for returning Caterham at 2014 Abu Dhabi GP
British FR3.5 driver granted F1 Super Licence for Yas Marina bow
By William Esler
Last Updated: 24/11/14 3:15pm
Britain’s Will Stevens will make his F1 debut with returning Caterham at this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Stevens was a former test driver at the Leafield squad and drove for the team at the 2013 Young Driver Test and 2014 Silverstone test, before aligning himself with Marussia ahead of the Japanese GP.
The 23-year-old had been scheduled to take part in the opening practice session at Suzuka, but a postal delay prevented the necessary paperwork being lodged with the Contract Recognition Board in Switzerland.
Stevens finished sixth in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series this season after taking wins in the opening round at Monza and penultimate race at Jerez.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be getting this opportunity and am very grateful to everyone involved at Caterham F1 Team for giving it to me," Stevens said.
"I feel ready for the challenge of my F1 debut and look forward to working as part of the Team in a race environment after all the work we’ve done together previously in the tests I’ve completed and back at Leafield in the sim. Hopefully this will be something we will be able to carry through to the 2015 season together."
Caterham revealed that they had agreed a deal with Stevens last week, but were just waiting for the green light on the Super Licence before making it official.
“We know Will very well through his involvement in the Caterham Racing Academy and more importantly he has done a vast amount of time in our simulator, completing around 10,000km, which has built his experience both of this year’s car and with the engineering team that are going to Abu Dhabi," said Gianluca Pisanello, Caterham's Head of Engineering Operations.
"In addition, his 2014 test at Silverstone in our current car, where he completed over 500kms, was very successful and his race pace was very good. As a result, he was one of our best candidates for this race weekend and we are delighted to have secured his services for our return to the F1 grid. We in fact signed Will last week but have had to wait for confirmation of his Super licence before making our announcement."
Stevens will be partnered at Caterham by regular driver Kamui Kobayashi after Sauber-bound Marcus Ericsson severed his ties with the team.
Caterham, who fell into administration last month, have made an unlikely return to the grid after a two-race absence thanks to a successful crowdfunding scheme which has raised nearly £2 million in two weeks. Rivals Marussia, however, will not be present in Abu Dhabi having also gone into administration.