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Wickens added to Virgin’s reserve roster 03 Jun 2011

Robert Wickens (CDN) Virgin Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday 7 May 2011. Robert Wickens (CDN) Carlin. Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Rd 4, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 26-29 May 2011. (L to R): Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Virgin Racing Reserve Driver with Robert Wickens (CDN) Virgin Racing and Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 21 May 2011.

Following a strong start to the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season, Canada’s Robert Wickens has been signed to Virgin’s 2011 F1 reserve driver roster, joining Sakon Yamamoto in the team’s young driver programme.

Thanks to Wicken’s commanding performances so far this season, the 2010 GP3 Series runner-up is now second in the championship with four podiums - including one win - and three poles to his credit from the first four rounds of the pan-European ‘World Series by Renault’.

“I am delighted to be confirmed as a reserve driver with Marussia Virgin Racing,” said the 22-year-old. “It's an exciting time for me and Canadian motorsport. The support of Marussia Motors and the Marussia Virgin Racing team has been fantastic, and I am dedicated to repaying that faith in me by contributing everything I can to assist the team’s objectives in Formula One this year.”

Toronto-born Wickens will attend each of the remaining 2011 Grands Prix where there is no clash with the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with effect from next weekend’s Canadian round.

“His fantastic performances so far this season are testimony to the fact that he has a bright future ahead of him,” commented Virgin team principal John Booth. “Robert will join us trackside at Grands Prix for as many races as his schedule will allow and in turn he will have the benefit of working closely with our race drivers and engineers as we develop our car and our team through the rest of the season.”

Wickens began his karting career in 1997. In 2005 he was awarded a Junior Scholarship from BMW and participated in the Formula BMW USA, winning two races and scoring five podiums, ending the season as the best rookie driver. He remained in the series for 2006 but then switched to the EuroInternational Championship to become a Red Bull Junior Team driver and went on to win the series.

In 2007, he moved to Champ Car Atlantic, finishing third (one win, three podiums). A year later, he joined Formula Renault 3.5, winning a race in his debut season and finishing 12th overall. Also in 2008 he contended part of the F3 Euroseries, winning a race before continuing into 2009. He was the only North American driver in the Formula Two Championship for the 2009 season and finished second. In 2010 he raced in the new GP3 Series and again ended the season in second position.

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