Robin Frijns believes he will be driving for his career when he makes his full Formula 1 test debut with Sauber at the Abu Dhabi young driver test next month.
Sauber announced on Thursday that Frijns will spend the first day of the test at the wheel of the C31, before handing over to the team's regular reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez. The Dutchman, who is fighting for the Formula Renault 3.5 title at Barcelona this weekend against F1 test drivers Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird, believes that he cannot afford to be too cautious in the test.
"This is my future on the table. I don't have any money so I have to rely on pure talent, which is a much harder way of getting in at the moment," said Frijns. "It's the first time that I'll have other F1 cars around me, so I can prove myself a bit. I can see where I'm at, which is good.
"If I'm doing a good job for the team hopefully everyone can wake up a bit more to me."
The 21-year-old, who is fighting for the FR3.5 title as a rookie this year after winning back-to-back championships in Formula BMW Europe and the Formula Renault Eurocup, believes that his form this year in a field with several F1 junior drivers played a role in Sauber offering him a test.
"My manager had some chats with Sauber, and when they saw I was at the front every time, they said they wanted to give me a test," he said. "That's how it came about, because of my good results and the progression I have made compared to Bianchi and Bird."
Frijns added that he was not sure if he has a chance to earn a race drive in F1 for 2013, but he hopes that he can make enough of an impression to be considered a prospect for the future.
"I'm getting my first official metres in a Formula 1, and I'm very happy with that," he said. "But the next goal is to get a seat for next year or the year after. It's not easy – everybody knows there are drivers around with money, and if I am only the same speed as them then I won't get a drive. But I will do my best and we will see where I end up."
Frijns got his first taste of F1 machinery when he completed some demo laps in a 2010 Red Bull RB6 at the Moscow Raceway World Series by Renault meeting earlier this year. He is effectively guaranteed a fully-fledged run with Red Bull in Abu Dhabi as well, as a reward for being the highest-placed FR3.5 driver not contracted to a rival team.
There are 50 points available at this weekend's final round, and his closest challenger fitting the criteria – Briton Nick Yelloly – is 52 points behind.