Former Caterham and Marussia racer Charles Pic has become the Lotus Formula 1 team’s third driver for 2014. The team has also announced roles for Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Marco Sorensen and sports car driver Nicolas Prost in its test and development program.
Pic lost his Caterham seat at the end of 2013, but will become Lotus’s main reserve this year.
“Obviously, the big change is that I won’t be racing in Formula 1, but I will be at the races and working in meetings which will help me develop and progress as a driver,” said Pic. “Working with a top team is the next step in my development and I think I will learn a lot from this.
“I’m happy with my progress from my first two seasons in Formula 1 and at 24 I still have good potential for the future.”
Sorensen, who was already a Lotus team protégé, has been promoted to ‘reserve and development driver’ status for 2014.
“I’ll be doing a lot of the simulator work this year, and then we’ll see if there are any tests,” said the 23-year-old Dane. “I’m looking forward to doing a good job in the simulator and helping to get some extra pace in the car as it’s a great way to show my value to the team.
“I’m probably going to come to six or seven F1 races during the season and that will be fantastic experience, too.”
While Prost has the same ‘reserve and development’ title as Sorensen, he will be the lead simulator driver and has already carried out a large amount of E22 development work at the factory.
Pic replaces 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi as Lotus’s “number three.” Valsecchi was critical of the team last year when it overlooked him in favor of Caterham reserve and former grand prix racer Heikki Kovalainen following Kimi Raikkonen’s early exit from the race lineup to undergo back surgery.
THE 2014 F1 SUBS BENCH SO FAR
Test/reserve/development/’affiliated’ drivers announced to date:
Red Bull: Antonio Felix da Costa, Sebastien Buemi
Ferrari: Davide Rigon, Marc Gene, Pedro de la Rosa
Lotus: Charles Pic, Marco Sorensen, Nicolas Prost
McLaren: Stoffel Vandoorne
Force India: Daniel Juncadella
Sauber: Giedo van der Garde, Sergey Sirotkin, Simona de Silvestro
Caterham: Robin Frijns, Alexander Rossi