Nov.7 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Robert Wickens will replace Virgin regular Jerome d’Ambrosio in initial practice ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi grand prix.

The Canadian, already a reserve driver for the team that is set to become Marussia next year, has been linked with Belgian d’Ambrosio’s race seat for 2012.

Wickens raced in Virgin and Marussia colours as he secured this year’s Renault World Series championship.

The F1 team said his driving role in Abu Dhabi this weekend is “a reward for winning” the series, with the Russian supercar backer Marussia deciding that “his success (is) deserving of the opportunity”.

“This year just keeps getting better and better and I can’t thank Marussia enough for their continued support,” said the 22-year-old driver.