Williams has confirmed that Paul Di Resta will be its reserve driver this season, and he thus replaces Adrian Sutil.
The Scot last appeared in F1 with Force India in 2013, before returning to Mercedes and the DTM. His ongoing Stuttgart connections probably did no harm when it came to landing the Williams job, although the 29-year-old has yet to drive hybrid V6 car in anger.
Last year Sutil tried the team’s simulator and attended races, but never drove the actual car.
The team says that Di Resta “will spend extensive time with the team at races to ensure he is fully accustomed to the controls and procedures of the Williams Mercedes FW38, should he be required to step into the cockpit during the season. He will also spend time integrating himself into the team with some simulator sessions to ensure he is fully prepared for his role this season.”
In other words as with Sutil last year there are no immediate plans for him to drive the actual car. Sutil never intended to stay on for another year and has been looking at a future in the WEC.
“It will be a busy year combining both driving in DTM with Mercedes AMG, and attending the Formula One Grands Prix in my new reserve driver role,” said Di Resta. I will be giving my full support to both and look forward to the exciting possibilities the year has ahead.”
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “Having competed in 58 Formula One races throughout his career Paul’s racing knowledge will be invaluable. We are also confident that given his recent Formula One and current DTM experience Paul will be able to confidently step into the FW38 and assist with our 2016 campaign.”