Virgin Racing

Leimer hopeful of making F1 debut later this year

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Manor Marussia F1 Team reserve driver Fabio Leimer has hinted that he could be set to make his full Formula 1 debut later this year as part of his ongoing reserve role with the backmarker team.

Since winning the 2013 GP2 Series title, Leimer has failed to make the step up to F1, and had been due to race in the Japanese Super Formula series this year.

However, he walked away from the series before even making a start in order to take up a role with Manor Marussia in support of full-time drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.

Given that Merhi is on a race-by-race deal, Leimer has been tipped to make his F1 debut later this year as a possible replacement, and told reporters on Friday ahead of his FIA Formula E debut that it could happen before the end of the season.

“At the moment it looks like I will do already at Silverstone, the first free practice [session],” Leimer is quoted as saying by ESPN and GPUpdate.

“As you know F1 is changing quickly so if someone comes with a lot of money… but it looks like at Silverstone and then maybe a chance for the end of the season to do some races.”

Leimer explained how he first came into contact with Manor – then Marussia F1 Team – back in 2013 after winning the GP2 title, but was unable to make the jump from F1’s premier feeder series.

“We were in contact with Marussia since 2013 but at the end we never had the budget so it was already over for me,” he said.

“Suddenly I got a call [saying] ‘we are interested to have you as a third driver and maybe even some races at the end of the year’, so I’m happy.”

Leimer joined Virgin Racing for this weekend’s London ePrix as a late replacement for Jaime Alguersuari, who was forced to miss the Formula E season finale for security reasons.