Following a difficult Austrian GP where they finished two laps down on race-winner Fernando Alonso, FJR have announced that both their test drivers will take part in two FF1M races each, with Benjamin Pryor set to race at Spa and Monza, and Cristóbal Alvarez set to race at Sepang and Shanghai, all in the place of Charles Pic.
FJR have so far endured a season of inconsistency amongst the lower reaches of the midfield with Kevin Magnussen frequently outperforming the car, and the team currently sits 8th in the constructors championship, just two points away of last. When asked why he made the driver change earlier than planned, team boss James Brickles stated that “the uncertain futures of my very capable test drivers prompted me to give Cris and Benji at least two shots each at the top. It’s also to say cheers for rejuvenating STV Racing and helping to develop next season’s FF1M car.”
The announcement has left Pic temporarily out of FF1M. The Frenchman has had a tricky season after being comfortably outpaced by his teammate and having his name constantly derided in jest, particularly by Brickles who gave him the moniker Charlotte Plectrum shortly before the San Marino Grand Prix.
Despite being dropped, the Frenchman is rumoured to return for the final FF1M race at Suzuka partly as a reward for his entertaining drive to 6th at Hockenheim. For that final race, FJR will display a one-off sponsor on the rear wing. Commenting on this, Brickles says that the one-off sponsor is to “specifically annoy Exolite boss James Whiteley.”
STV Racing, FJR’s FF2M team, has also been restructured for the final two races as a result. Partnering Alvarez for the final two races will be Catharina Caracciola, one of the frontrunners from the FF3M season and also part of FJR’s young driver programme. The Swiss driver has had a solid 2015 campaign, scoring points in every race so far and taking her first win at Spa Race 2.