Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries will make his Formula 1 practice debut at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix driving for Williams.

De Vries is the current reigning champion of the FIA’s single-seater electric series and is also one of Mercedes’ F1 reserve drivers, but has never driven in an official session.

The Dutch driver was on McLaren’s young driver programme for nine years until his release in 2019, the same year he claimed the Formula 2 title with ART.

Under new rules introduced by the FIA this year, all F1 teams must run a young driver with less than two grand prix’s worth of experience in two FP1 sessions over the season.

Williams has chosen to fulfil one of the two mandated sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with De Vries taking Alex Albon’s place for first practice on Friday.

“Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1,” said De Vries. “It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula One weekend.

“Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!”

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson believes De Vries’ experience will be a key asset for Williams in Spain, as the team looks to build on its points finish in Miami.

“We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car’s strengths and weaknesses,” Robson said.

“Nyck’s experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.”

Williams secured its highest finish of the season at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, with Albon, who started on the back row, coming through to claim a ninth place finish.