LONDON (Reuters) - Russian Sergey Sirotkin has joined Renault as a Formula One test driver and will take part in the first practice session at his home grand prix in Sochi on Friday, the team said on Tuesday.
The announcement means Russia will have two drivers on track on Friday, with Daniil Kvyat returning to Sochi on a high after finishing third for former champions Red Bull at the previous Chinese Grand Prix.
Sirotkin, 20, has previous Formula One experience as a test driver for the cash-strapped Sauber team and made his debut in Friday practice for them in the inaugural 2014 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.
He is competing again in the GP2 support series this season after an impressive debut year in which he finished third overall.
Renault said the Russian would use Danish driver Kevin Magnussen’s car in the 90-minute practice session.
“Sergey is one of the most promising drivers from the junior categories so it is great for us that he is joining Renault Sport,” said racing director Frederic Vasseur.
“We saw that he was the most promising rookie in the GP2 Series last season, where he achieved a race win and podiums, and for 2016 he is very well placed to fight for the title.
“He has driven the Sochi Autodrom in a GP2 Series car previously so we have confidence in the job he will be able to do for us this weekend.”
Sirotkin thanked SMP Racing, a company that aims to bring Russian drivers through the various tiers of motorsport, for their support.
SMP Racing was founded by Boris Rotenberg, who controls SMP Bank with his brother Arkady and is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty