Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell will make his Formula One practice debut with Force India at this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old Briton will get behind the wheel of the VJM10 for the first time during opening practice at Interlagos on Friday, deputising for Sergio Perez, before taking the place of fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon in FP1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Russell, who wrapped up this year's GP3 championship at the penultimate round of the season last month, drove Mercedes' 2017 F1 challenger on both days of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test.
"I'm extremely excited to be driving in free practice for Sahara Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi," Russell said. "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 Sahara Force India for this opportunity and also thank Mercedesfor their continued support."
Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director, added: "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."
Russell has claimed four race victories so far during his rookie campaign, with the final round taking place in Abu Dhabi as part of the F1 support bill. He is expected to graduate to Formula 2 in 2018.