F1: Raffaele Marciello joins Sauber as test/reserve driver

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Ferrari Driver Academy member Raffaele Marciello will back up Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr at Sauber next season as the team’s test and reserve driver.

The 20-year-old Italian, who tested Ferrari’s 2014 F1 challenger last month in Abu Dhabi (pictured, right), will also continue to compete for Racing Engineering in the developmental GP2 series.

In 2014, Marciello finished eighth in the GP2 standings with a win at Spa-Francorchamps and four podiums overall.

He entered GP2 this past season after winning the 2013 FIA European Formula 3 title on the strength of 13 race wins.

“I am really pleased to become a member of the Sauber F1 Team, which has a long tradition of building up excellent drivers,” Marciello said in a statement. “I really think that this is the best choice for my future career. I am also happy to compete for one more season in the GP2 Series, which, together with my new F1 role, will give me a very busy 2015 season.

“I want to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me this important opportunity, and now I really can’t wait to start delivering my best.”

Marciello also tweeted:

His new boss, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, also confirmed in the same release that Marciello would have the chance to take part in multiple Friday practice sessions during the 2015 F1 season.

With this announcement, it would appear that Marciello has effectively replaced Giedo van der Garde in the test/reserve role at Hinwil.

The Dutchman had also been in the running for a 2015 race seat before Sauber chose Ericsson and Nasr to replace both Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.

Gutierrez has since become Ferrari’s reserve behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.