CANADIAN driver Robert Wickens is within touching distance of fulfilling a life-long ambition by competing in Formula One.
But Marussia Virgin Racing’s new reserve driver accepts he will have to serve his apprenticeship before making the step up.
The 22-year-old rookie plans on spending a large portion of his time at his home grand prix this weekend listening and learning in the paddock and garage of the Dinnington-based team.
The precociously talented Wickens will sit in on Virgin’s team meetings and listen in on all radio communications between the drivers and the garage as he looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Jacques Villeneuve by competing in motor sport’s premier competition.
Wickens knows his role in the team is to provide support to frontline racers Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio and be prepared to deputise if something out of the ordinary happened to one of the first-choice duo.
‘’I’m not planning on driving,’’ he said. ‘’I’m just sticking to my duties with the simulator work I’ve done for them and I just have to keep going from there.
‘’I want to drive, but I know my role and I know where I stand, so I just have to sit tight and wait for my time.’’
Wickens also drives under Marussia sponsorship in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and is second overall in the standings after seven races. He has four top-three finishes, three pole positions, three fastest laps and one race win.