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Toyota confirm Montagny signing 18 Oct 2006

Frank Montagny (FRA) Toyota F1 Testing, Day 3, Silverstone, England. 21st September 2006. World ©  Bumstead/Sutton.

Toyota announced on Wednesday that Franck Montagny will join the team as third driver in 2007. Montagny, currently in the same role with Super Aguri, will work alongside race drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.

The Frenchman has been in the picture for the role since September when Toyota announced the imminent departure of their current testing line-up - Ricardo Zonta to Renault and Olivier Panis to Formula One retirement. Montagny tested with the team, ahead of his signing, at Silverstone last month.

“I am absolutely thrilled to let you know about my move to Toyota F1 as the team's reserve driver,” Montagny told his official website. “To join the ranks of a world class car manufacturer is a privilege and a great opportunity for my career and I intend to make the best of this opportunity in regard to the continuation of my career in Formula One.”

Montagny has a wealth of Formula One testing experience. He was an official Renault tester from 2003 to 2005, before his move to Super Aguri. He has also made seven Grand Prix starts for the Japanese team this year.

"Franck is an experienced driver who knows the tracks and has a strong and successful record of developing Formula One cars,” commented Tsutomu Tomita, Toyota team principal. “His outing at Silverstone was a good opportunity to familiarise himself with the team at a time when discussions were almost complete. He worked well within the team and his performance confirmed we have made the right decision."

Montagny will start his new role for Toyota in January of next year.