Former Grand Prix driver Paul di Resta will return to Formula 1 as Williams Racing’s official reserve driver for the 2016 season, the team has confirmed.
The 29-year-old Scot has a long association with Mercedes-Benz since winning the 2006 Formula 3 Euro Series title and made the step to Formula 1 with one of its customer teams, Force India, as its reserve driver in 2010. He also contested his third season in the DTM touring car championship with the carmaker that year, winning the championship crown.
Di Resta impressed with a number of Friday practice outings and was promoted to a race seat the following year.
Over three seasons and 58 Grands Prix with the Silverstone outfit, his best finishes were a pair of fourth places.
Despite having his best season in 2013 where he finished twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, di Resta was dropped by the team and returned to his DTM roots.
His return to Formula 1 has been rumoured for some time and given his Mercedes connections, it’s little surprise that he has popped up at Williams where he will replace his former Force India teammate Adrian Sutil at the Grove squad.
“I am delighted to be joining Williams as reserve driver and look forward to the 2016 season,” said di Resta.
“It will be a busy year combining both driving in the DTM with Mercedes AMG, and attending the Formula 1 Grands Prix in my new reserve driver role. I will be giving my full support to both and look forward to the exciting possibilities the year has ahead.”
Williams has not confirmed whether di Resta will participate in any Friday practice outings or in-season tests; it never gave Sutil any on-track mileage over the course of 2015.
Di Resta will join GP2 Series driver Alex Lynn and the well-backed Canadian youngster Lance Stroll in the team’s supporting line-up.
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