Marciello handed FP1 drive in Sepang
Raffaele Marciello will make his Formula One debut in Malaysia when he drives for Sauber during Friday practice.
Ferrari junior Marciello joined Sauber as test and reserve driver in December. The Italian will take over from Felipe Nasr for FP1, before the Brazilian gets back behind the wheel for the second Friday session.
On top of his testing duties this year, Marciello will compete for Trident in the upcoming GP2 season and he says his F1 opportunity is an important step in his development as a driver.
"It will be exciting to drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time," Marciello said. "That will also be the same for the Italians, as we have not had an Italian driver in Formula One for quite a few years. I will definitely enjoy the experience, and I am really looking forward to it. I am confident I can do a good job as well as supporting the team in order to find a set-up for the car which suits the track.
"I have never been to Malaysia before, but I know the track quite well from the Ferrari simulator in Maranello, and I am sure I can get to learn it fast once I drive there. As the circuit has some fast corners, I think the car's downforce will be crucial. Another important aspect will be the weather, as the humidity, along with the temperatures, is quite high. From a driver's perspective it will be a challenge, but this is the same for everyone. Together with my trainer, I am getting well prepared for this weekend."
An Italian driver has not competed in a Formula One weekend since Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jarno Trulli left the sport at the end of 2011.