Mercedes junior George Russell will make his first Grand Prix weekend appearance this Friday in Brazil. The GP3 champion will be driving Force India's VJM10 for the first practice session at the Interlagos Circuit.
Russell joined Mercedes' junior programme at the start of the season and has since become champion in GP3 and is set for a Formula 2 deal for 2018. At Sao Paulo on Friday, Sergio Perez will step aside to allow the Briton a drive.
Russell will also take part in the first practice session in Abu Dhabi, which hosts the final round of the 2017 World Championship in just over two weeks' time. On that occasion, fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon will hand his car over.
"I'm extremely excited to be driving in free practice for Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi," said Russell. "2017 has already been a year full of great opportunities and to top off the season with these two outings feels fantastic.
I've never driven the VJM10 before or driven at Interlagos, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Force India for this opportunity and also thank Mercedes for their continued support."
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya gave his comments on the news: "We are happy to give George this opportunity; he's an up-and-coming talent and we've followed his success in GP3 closely. George has already been in our simulator several times and has worked well with the team.
"Now that we have secured fourth place in the championship, it's the ideal time to look to the future and handing George his free practice debut will allow us to evaluate his potential," he added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing