Scot Jack Aitken to make F1 race debutposted in F102 | 12 | 2020

    FORMULA ONE RACER Jack Aitken will become the first Scot to compete in an F1 grand prix since Bathgate’s Paul di Resta in 2017, when he takes over the Williams of George Russell for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain.

    Aitken, the 24-year-old Scots-Korean racer, whose father is originally from Carstairs, is currently the Williams F1 reserve driver. He also competes in this year’s F2 World Championship, where he has twice finished on the podium and had eight other points finishes. (Related: Aitken to make Williams F1 test debut)

    The Scot, who earlier this season took part in a Friday practice session at the Styrian Grand Prix, will make his full race debut this weekend as a result of team-mate Russell moving up to replace seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. Hamilton will sit-out the weekend having tested positive for Covid.

    “I’m absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to make my debut with Williams this coming weekend and I am extremely happy for George to have his chance too,” Aitken, who will race with No 89 on his car, the number he used when he started karting, said.

    “I really mean it when I say I’ve felt very much at home here since I joined Williams earlier this year, so to get my chance to help the team try to achieve that elusive points finish is an extremely satisfying occasion to say the least.

    “I’ll be doing all I can to prepare in the coming days, but truthfully, I feel like I have been ready since Melbourne. I also want to wish Lewis well in his recovery, and good luck to George getting the chance to drive the Mercedes this weekend.”

    Aitken’s graduation to a full race seat for the weekend, when he will partner Canadian Nicholas Latifi who will drive the team’s other car, was welcomed by Williams’ Acting Team Principal, Simon Roberts.

    “We are thrilled that we are able to give another British talent in Jack Aitken the opportunity to make his Formula One race debut,” Roberts said.

    “Jack joined Williams at the start of this season, and despite Covid-19 restrictions meaning we haven’t been able to interact with him as much as we would like, he has quickly become a much-liked member of the team.

    “We look forward to seeing him build on his previous experience driving the car in practice, to see what he can do in a qualifying and race situation.”

    Aitken will be in the car for the first time this weekend on Friday morning for opening practice in Bahrain, ahead of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

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    Jim McGill

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