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LONDON, April 26. /TASS/. Russian racer Sergey Sirotkin has signed up with FIA Formula One team Renault as a test pilot with a long-term development plan and will be taking part this weekend in a free practice of Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the official website of the French team reported on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old Russian will take on the Sochi racing track in a 90-minute free practice on Friday morning using the bolide of Danish pilot Kevin Magnussen.
"This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly," the website quoted Sirotkin as saying.
"I still can’t quite believe it," Sirotkin said. "This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, doing the best possible job for the team while driving in Free Practice 1."
Sirotkin’s manager Nikolai Vetrov told TASS on Tuesday that the contract between the French team Renault and the Russian racer has been concluded until the end of the current F1 season.
"The contract was signed until the end of 2016," Vetrov said in an interview with TASS. "We will then look into the possibilities of its prolongation."
A total of 21 races had been scheduled for the 2016 FIA F1 Championship, with Sochi GP listed fourth on the calendar.
Vetrov added that in order to extend the contract and continue cooperation with team Renault, Sirotkin must imply maximum efforts.
"It is obvious that his future path must be on the rise only," the Russian driver’s manager said. "It is difficult at the moment to make any predictions."
Sirotkin, who is currently racing in the GP2 tournament for French team Art Grand Prix, already piloted F1 bolides as part of demonstration laps in 2013 within the frames of a partnership contract to promote the inaugural 2014 F1 Sochi GP. In 2014 he was a test pilot for F1 team Sauber but partnership was severed due to financial issues.
This year Russia is holding its FIA Formula One racing Grand Prix for the first time in spring, namely on April 29-May 1, as compared with the two previous races held in autumn of 2014 and 2015 in Sochi.
The contract to include Russia in the calendar of F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
In late 2014, Sochi Autodrom was awarded the trophy of Formula One’s best racing track of the year. The Race Promoters' Trophy is a rotating award, engraved with the names of other top F1 tracks dating from 1975.