Former Force India and Sauber F1 driver Adrian Sutil has been appointed as Williams Martini Racing’s official reserve driver for the 2015 Formula 1 season, the team has announced.

The German is a veteran of 128 Grands Prix over a seven-year stint in Formula 1, which began with the Spyker team in 2007. He stayed with the team as it morphed into Force India and remained with the squad until 2011, where he finished a career-best ninth in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

He was dropped for the 2012 season but returned to its line-up in 2013, before moving to the Sauber team in 2014 on a two-year contract. He was dropped by the Swiss team at the end of his first season with the cash-strapped squad and remained without a racing drive.

The 32-year-old has subsequently found a lifeline from the Williams team, where he will serve as its official reserve driver for the 2015 Formula 1 season. He will conduct a number of runs in the team’s simulator to help him be ‘race ready’ in the event he has to be called up to take over one of the seats currently occupied by Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

“I’m delighted to have Adrian join our stable of drivers for the 2015 season,” Williams team founder Sir Frank Williams said.

“The fight for a top Constructors’ Championship position will be intense this season, therefore we have selected a driver with recent race experience and are confident that if the need arose, he would be a solid pair of hands to race the FW37 and assist our 2015 campaign.”

“I’m very proud to be a part of such a famous and great F1 team,” Sutil added. “To work for Sir Frank Williams and his team means a lot to me. I would like to thank everyone at Williams for their belief in my qualities and the opportunity to work with such a successful and competitive outfit.”

Sutil’s appointment comes after a worrying season-opening Grand Prix in Australia, which saw the team limited to one car in the race after Bottas was forced with withdraw when he suffered a back injury in qualifying.

While the Finn has subsequently been declared fit to race at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the team could have faced the scenario of having to field a replacement driver were this not the case.

The team does have the services of its test driver, Susie Wolff and Alex Lynn – its test and developments drivers, respectively – but has made it clear that neither would be called up as a replacement driver.

Image via Sauber Motorsport AG

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Geoff Burke

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