Photo: Sahara Force India Formula One Team
GP2 race winner James Calado has been officially unveiled in the third driver role for the Formula One squad Force India.
Calado, who has earlier tested with the UK-based team in the Formula One Young Driver Test at Silvestone, will partake in select FP1 sessions throughout the rest of the 2013 season, starting with the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Force India’s rookie is eying a step-up to Formula One as a full-time race driver next year and is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation. Following his successful rookie year in GP2, Calado was picked up by Nicolas Todt’s management company that arranged the same testing opportunity for current Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi in 2012.
“It’s a massive moment in my career and something I’ve been working towards since I started racing in single-seaters with the Racing Steps Foundation. Working with everyone at Force India during the Silverstone test was an amazing experience and I feel very fortunate to be part of the team going forward”, said Calado. “Track time in a Formula One car is so limited these days, so it means a lot that the team will let me drive some free practice sessions. That will be very valuable for me and I will do all I can to help the team in the upcoming races.”
The 24-year-old Brit enjoyed an illustrious single-seater career since his debut in British Formula Renault 2.0 in 2008. He’s won two FR2.0 winter series titles that very year, and, sticking in British FR2.0 for another season in 2009, finished second in the championship.
In 2010, Calado joined Carlin in British F3 and, in a campaign that yielded five race victories, finished runner-up in the standings. He moved on to GP3 in 2011, joining ART and also finishing second and the end of the year, seven points behind his teammate and current Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas.
After Calado won the reverse-grid race in the non-championship GP2 season finale at Abu Dhabi, he stepped up into the series full-time in 2012, taking another sprint race win in the first round. Over the course of the season, he added another victory and finished fifth overall, placing as the best GP2 rookie.
Calado’s entered his sophomore GP2 year as the pre-season favorite, but his season has been plagued with technical issues which see him currently occupy fifth in the standings, albeit just 24 points behind the leader with six races to go.
“I’m pleased to confirm that we’ve signed James as our third driver”, said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya. “We’ve always tried to support young drivers and this is a great opportunity for him to gain some valuable experience of driving during Formula One race events.”