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Wickens makes Formula One testing debut with Virgin 14 Sep 2011

Robert Wickens (CDN) Virgin Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday 7 May 2011. Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 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.

Virgin completed their third straight-line aero test of the season on Tuesday at the Italian circuit of Vairano, providing reserve driver Robert Wickens, a member of the team’s young driver programme, with his first experience in an F1 car.

Wickens, currently leading the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, completed 210 kilometres in the MVR-02 in what was a solid day of testing for Virgin, enabling them to gather plenty of data with which to further develop the new aero package they introduced at Monza last weekend.

“It was great to work with the team in this way,” said the 22-year-old Canadian. “Driving the car is obviously a natural step in my progression and education as a reserve driver with Marussia Virgin Racing. Like all drivers I’m eager for seat time and the work we did today undoubtedly plays an important role for the team in its aerodynamic development programme.

“It was a good day and I was happy to sample the car for myself, albeit in a straight line, having watched Timo (Glock) and Jerome (d’Ambrosio) behind the wheel for the past couple of months!”

John Booth, Virgin team principal, added: “It was a slow start to the day due to an issue with the engine, however the Cosworth technicians working with the team did a good job to solve the problem as quickly as possible. From that point on, the day ran pretty much to plan and we have been able to collect a huge amount of data to analyse.

“Robert also did a great job in his F1 testing debut. It was his first time in the MVR-02 car and he adapted very quickly to the controls and steering wheel. It has been a very positive experience for him which he has handled very well.”

Wickens was added to Virgin’s reserve roster back in June, joining Japan’s Sakon Yamamoto in their young driver programme.

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