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MF1 testing deal for Winkelhock 24 Jan 2006

Markus Winkelhock (GER) Drago Multiracing. Renault World Series, Rd8, Estoril, Portugal, 2 October 2005. World ©  Sutton

Markus Winkelhock, son of the late Formula One star Manfred, has been confirmed as an official 2006 test driver for MF1 Racing. Winkelhock will also participate in Grand Prix Friday practice sessions for the team, casting uncertainty over the role of previously-announced third driver Nicky Pastorelli.

Winkelhock, 25, tested for the Midland-owned squad in Jerez last December and impressed with his talent and determination. “Markus showed true class in the test before Christmas,” said MF1’s Managing Director Colin Kolles. “He was immediately at home in a Formula One car and he will be a big asset to our development programme this year.”

Winkelhock, who finished third in the 2005 World Series by Renault, described his first Formula One test as an unforgettable experience. “It gave me the hunger for more and this opportunity with Midland is fantastic for me,” said the German. “I know the team has a big development programme for the new MF1-Toyota M16 and I look forward to being constructively involved with it.”

Pastorelli, originally signed by the then Jordan team last February, had been expected to fulfil third driver duties for MF1 this year. That was until the Dutchman was forced to pull out of a planned test in December after problems with one of his backers, leaving his future with the team unclear. However, MF1 say they will reveal full details of their Friday line-up at a later date, suggesting that more one than one driver may share the role.