Nikita Mazepin has been given a welcome boost as he bids for a place on the F1 grid as he is set to complete a comprehensive test programme in a Mercedes W08 this year.
Although the Russian driver is not affiliated with the Mercedes team, he will conduct his F1 learning in a 2017 W08, spending 12 days in the car.
The tests are permitted as, this year, the W08 car is three years outside of competition.
According to Motorsport.com, Mercedes 2019 reserve driver Esteban Ocon will assist Mazepin in a coaching and advisory role.
Mazepin’s tests are similar to that of what Lance Stroll did before he entered Formula 1.
His father, Lawrence, arranged a comprehensive private testing programme with Williams prior to the Canadian’s debut.
Mazepin, a former Force India development driver, will compete in this year’s Formula 2 campaign after his father Dmitry tried but failed to buy the Force India team last season.