Having endured a well below-par season (by his standards, at least) to-date in the DTM championship series, long-time McLaren test and reserve driver Gary Paffett has extended his contract with the Woking-based team.
The Briton has been part of the McLaren family since 2005 while dovetailing this role with that of a works Mercedes driver in German’s premier tin-top category.
Paffett has been credited with a major role in developing each season’s F1 challenger, which has included testing work on the track and in the simulator.
“I’m extremely pleased to have renewed my relationship with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” he is quoted in a team statement.
“As everybody knows, success in Formula 1 is developed through the strength and duration of relationships: I’ve been a part of this team for more than five years, and it’s a place where I really feel happy and comfortable, and where I can confidently speak my mind.
“I’m proud that my contribution has enabled the team to remain a race and championship-winning force in Formula 1, and I truly believe that we’ll continue to grow and improve in the future.”
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh added: “Gary has become a vital part of our technical support and development team – both at the track and in the simulator.
“Both Gary and the team believes that this deal will underline his reputation as a strong development driver and a true team player.”
Let’s hope that this announcement translates into more fortune on the track. Despite being a pre-season favourite to take the DTM championship title this year, Paffett lies ninth in the Drivers’ Championship standings – 30 points adrift of series leader Bruno Spengler – with a best finish of fourth at the Lausitzring.
[Original image via Sutton Images]