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Briton Russell To Drive For Force India In Opening Practice At Brazilian GP

Release time:  2017-11-14 Release source:  PA author:  ADNose browse:  77


British teenager George Russell will be handed his grand prix debut in opening practice at this week's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 19-year-old, who was recently crowned GP3 champion, is set to deputise for Force India's Sergio Perez at Interlagos on Friday.

Force India confirmed that Russell will then drive at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi - also during opening practice - in place of Perez's team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Russell's upcoming debut comes just 24 hours after McLaren confirmed 17-year-old Englishman Lando Norris will be their reserve driver next season.

"I'm extremely excited to be driving in free practice for 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 Force India before or driven at Interlagos, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Russell joined Mercedes' junior programme at the beginning of the year and steadily impressed in his first F1 outing at a test in Hungary last summer.

He secured the GP3 championship with a round to spare, and like Norris, is set to make the step up to Formula Two - F1's feeder series - next season.

"We are happy to give George this opportunity," Force India boss Vijay Mallya said.

"He's 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."