Motor racing-Italian Marciello appointed Sauber reserve driver

Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:46am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Italian Raffaele Marciello will be Sauber's test and reserve driver next season, the Swiss Formula One team said on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Swiss-born racer and Ferrari protege competed in the GP2 series last year after winning the European F3 championship in 2013 with 13 victories.

"We will give Raffaele the opportunity to become familiar with Formula One, which also includes him taking part in some free practice sessions on Friday," said Sauber principal Monisha Kaltenborn in a statement.

Marciello, who will compete again in GP2 next year, is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and thanked the Italian team, who provide Sauber with engines, for giving him the opportunity.

The Italian tested with Ferrari in Abu Dhabi last month and recognized then that Frenchman Jules Bianchi would have taken the place had he not suffered critical head injuries in a crash in Japan.

Sauber, who have had financial troubles in recent seasons and failed to score a point this year for the first time, have an all-new race lineup for 2015 with Sweden's Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by...)