Williams F1 has confirmed that Jack Aitken will retain his position as the team’s official test and reserve driver for 2021.
“We are pleased to retain Jack for the 2021 season,” team principal Simon Roberts said in a team press release on Thursday, adding that Aitken will continue to integrate himself into the trackside team.
“He is a great talent and quickly became a much-liked member of the team,” he said. “Jack is a talented individual that works incredibly hard, and we look forward to seeing him contribute to the team once again this season.”
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Before joining Williams in 2020, the 25-year-old British-Korean driver had been a member of the Renault young driver academy, during which time he competed in GP3 and Formula 2 and was also the official F1 test driver for Renault.
Aitken got his first true F1 break last September when he sat in for regular Williams driver George Russell in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell had been called up by Mercedes to substitute for an unwell Lewis Hamilton following a positive coronavirus test.
“He really impressed us with his performance at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year in Bahrain, stepping up to the challenge at short notice to put in a strong performance over the course of the weekend,” commented Roberts.
Aitken had previously taken part in an FP1 session with Williams at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, and undertook vital development work in the team’s simulator at Grove throughout the season.
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The team said that Aitken will now have the opportunity to take part in a second FP1 session during the 2021 season.
“After providing me with one of the most special moments of my career to date last year, I am absolutely delighted to continue with Williams in the position of reserve driver,” Aitken said.
“In my short time at Grove I have already found many friends, and a deep desire for success as a team. The professionalism and work ethic of everyone here is something that makes me wear my kit with pride.
“Having had a taste of racing in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, I am fully intent on providing as much support as possible while continuing my development as a race driver.
“I will complement this role with other programmes, to be announced shortly, which will aid me in this goal and provide opportunities to expand my skills even further.”
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