Through the 2010s some Formula 1 teams utilised the opportunity to run non-race drivers during Friday practice at grand prix weekends. While some went on to forge successful Formula 1 careers others either never got the break or were simply there because of an accommodating financial package. Motorsport Week takes a look back at some faces who made an appearance but failed to graduate to a race seat.
Fairuz Fauzy (Lotus, 2010)
The new-for-2010 Lotus Racing team had Malaysian affiliation and Fauzy, runner up in Formula Renault 3.5, pocketed a role as reserve to Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Fauzy competed in five practice sessions through the year, including on home soil in Malaysia, but parted company with the team at the end of 2010.
Jan Charouz (HRT, 2011)
HRT joined Formula 1 in 2010 and while it is best remembered for handing Daniel Ricciardo his debut, it also employed an array of race and test drivers. Among the most unfamiliar is Jan Charouz – son of current F2/3 team owner Antonin – who, after a spell at Renault, rocked up at HRT and had a practice run at the 2011 season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Robert Wickens (Marussia, 2011)
Wickens is one of ‘those’ talents who missed the F1 boat but demonstrated his talent in DTM and, so far all to briefly, in IndyCar. Back in 2011 the Formula Renault 3.5 title contender had a brief spell as a Marussia test driver and got a run out during practice in Abu Dhabi. Sadly it was as far as the Canadian got in Formula 1.
Dani Clos (HRT, 2012)
Single-seater veteran Clos had a couple of outings as a Williams tester in 2008 but in 2012 made his FP1 debut with compatriot team HRT. Clos’ first appearance in the F112 came on home turf in Barcelona and five more outings followed before the team collapsed at the end of the campaign.
Ma Qing Hua (HRT, 2012; Caterham, 2013)
China’s representation in Formula 1 has so far been limited only to Ma Qing Hua, who made his FP1 debut with HRT at Monza in 2012. Three more appearances followed and the following year he joined Caterham and tested the CT03 in Shanghai. But the relationship fizzled soon after and he was not seen in Formula 1 again.
Rodolfo Gonzalez (Marussia, 2013)
The Venezuelan had an eclectic motorsport career, popping up sporadically in F3, GP2 and IndyCar, though his success was limited. In 2013 Marussia employed Gonzalez as its test driver and had nine outings during Friday sessions throughout the year.
James Calado (Force India, 2013)
Calado was perhaps another one of those ‘wrong place, wrong time’ drivers. Runner-up to Valtteri Bottas in GP3, a promising first year in GP2 netted him a Force India test role and in 2013 he had five FP1 runs in the VJM06. But he had the misfortune of joining junior powerhouse ART during a rare slump and, despite a credible P3 overall, missed a 2014 race seat. He has since forged a highly successful WEC career.
Dani Juncadella (Force India, 2014)
Juncadella has established himself on the GT scene but after a Formula 3 title there was an olive branch from Force India. Juncadella had three FP1 outings in 2014 with the team but the final of those ended in the wall in Brazil.
Robin Frijns (Caterham, 2014)
Frijns had a trophy-laden junior career that included a Formula Renault 3.5 title and a GP2 race win (for a struggling team on a shoestring budget) but Formula 1 never fell for him. A Sauber test deal in 2013 was followed by a Caterham reserve role, and two FP1 runs, but that was it. Sportscars and Formula E have been the beneficiaries of Frijns’ skills.
Adderly Fong (Sauber, 2014)
Fong was a backmarker through his junior single-seater days but was one of an array of drivers to rock up at Sauber during the team’s financial struggles. Fong made one FP1 outing at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, then joined Lotus as a development driver in 2015, before getting another F1 run – this time during testing – with Sauber at the end of that year.
Raffaele Marciello (Sauber, 2015)
Marciello claimed the 2013 F3 title and had Ferrari backing – leading to test outings for the marque – but never made it to a race seat. A Sauber reserve role in 2015 resulted in four FP1 runs but he was dropped by Ferrari for 2016 and the Formula 1 dream was over. He currently competes – successfully – for Mercedes on the GT scene.
Fabio Leimer (Marussia, 2015)
Leimer clinched the GP2 title at the fourth time of asking in 2013 but no Formula 1 teams were interested in his services, prompting the Swiss to switch to sportscars. His sole appearance subsequently came with backmarker Manor Marussia in 2015, when he had an FP1 outing in Hungary.
Alfonso Celis Jr (Force India, 2016/17)
Celis Jr. followed in the footsteps of compatriot Sergio Perez though had only a slice of success – and talent – obtained by the elder Mexican. Celis Jr. held a Force India test role and made nine appearances in FP1 across 2016/17. His final run, on home turf in Mexico, abruptly ended when he spun into the wall.
Jordan King (Manor, 2016)
King signed up to Manor in late 2015 and the following year dovetailed duties with another season in GP2. King had two FP1 outings but Manor’s collapse at the end of the campaign effectively derailed any hopes of a race seat, though he remained in the support paddock until 2019, taking further F2 podiums.
Sean Gelael (STR, 2017/18)
Formula 2 veteran and the heir to the Indonesian fried chicken dynasty, Gelael has been loosely affiliated with Toro Rosso since 2017. While Gelael has no direct association with Red Bull he has driven Toro Rosso’s machinery in six FP1 sessions, most recently at the season-ending Abu Dhabi round in 2018.
Artem Markelov (Renault, 2018)
Markelov has established himself as a Formula 2 fan favourite, given his longevity in the series and propensity to try outrageous moves. In 2018 he linked up with Renault and had an FP1 outing in front of his home supporters in Russia.