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Gonzalez gets Marussia FP1 run

ESPN Staff
April 18, 2013 « Grosjean concerned by car troubles | Raikkonen enjoys better chance of title than 2012 »
Rodolfo Gonzalez joined Marussia just before the Australian Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Marussia's reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez will drive in FP1 for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Gonzalez - who joined the team following the departure of Luiz Razia - will replaced Jules Bianchi in Friday's first session at Sakhir; a track that both Bianchi and Max Chilton have previous experience of. It will be Gonzalez's first Friday practice appearance for Marussia and he thanked the team for the way it had incorporated him in to his new role.

"I'm really happy with this opportunity to drive in my first FP1 session of the season," Gonzalez said. "It will be a nice feeling to be back in a car - especially to drive a Formula 1 car again - and with my previous F1 experience I feel more than comfortable and ready. I love this circuit; it will be quite dusty in FP1 but it's also good fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can achieve. I would like to thank the team for their faith in me. They have made me feel so welcome and have bent over backwards to involve me in every aspect of the racing."

Team principal John Booth said the team would use the session to judge Gonzalez's pace relative to the race drivers.

"We are pleased to welcome our Reserve Driver Rodolfo Gonzalez to the car for his first FP1 session of the season," Booth said. "On this occasion he will take over from Jules for the morning but we will see him taking part in this session at several of the races this season and we will alternate between the two cars. We wish him well and look forward to getting our first opportunity to gauge his performance level in the MR02."