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Honda-backed Matsushita to test for Sauber in Hungary

Sauber has confirmed Honda-backed F2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita will make his Formula One debut with the team at the upcoming in-season test in Hungary.

Now in his third year in F1's feeder series, Matsushita has been linked to a Sauber drive in 2018 if the planned Honda engine deal goes ahead. The Japanese driver has scored three sprint race wins in GP2 and F2 in the last three years and currently sits seventh in the rankings.

Nobuharu Matsuhita. Sutton Images
"When I was four years old, I was fascinated by Michael Schumacher, watching him racing in Formula One," Matsushita said. "Since then my dream was to become a Formula One driver.

"I am very excited about my first Formula One test and I am really looking forward to driving the Sauber C36-Ferrari at the Hungaroring -- it is a great opportunity for me. I hope it will be a productive day for the team as well as for myself, so that I can learn as much as possible. I would like to thank the Sauber F1 Team for making this happen."

New Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur added: "I am pleased that Nobuharu has this great opportunity. He deserves the experience of his first test in a Formula One car. Ever since his debut in Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix, I have been following his progress closely, and have watched him advance his performance from year to year. With this Formula One test, he comes one step closer to his dream of becoming an F1 driver one day."

The news comes one week after Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa said his company needs an answer from Sauber over whether next year's engine deal will go ahead. Speculation in recent weeks has suggested the deal could fall through after former team principal Monisha Kaltenborn left the team.

Swedish driver Gustav Malja will drive on the first day of the test before Matsushita takes over on day two.

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/20143813/honda-backed-matsushita-test-sauber-hungary

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