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Oliveira makes Williams debut 03 Feb 2006

Joao Paolo de Oliveira (BRA) will test for Williams. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 31 January - 3 February 2006. World © Capilitan/Sutton

Brazilian driver Joao Paulo de Oliveira completed his first laps in a Formula One car on Friday morning when he tested for Williams at the Valencia circuit in Spain.

Oliveira has spent the past two seasons contesting the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, winning last year’s drivers’ title. Out of a total of 33 races, entered between 2004 and 2005, the 23-year-old has claimed victory 11 times from 14 pole positions, and achieved 25 top-ten finishes.

“I am delighted that Williams have invited me to drive their car,” said Oliveira ahead of his test. “To be driving a Formula One car is a life long ambition and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity. I hope that I can also provide the team with some valuable feedback as they prepare for the season ahead.”

Oliveira is scheduled to experience a total of 20 laps of the Valencia track in Williams’ interim FW27C chassis and will conclude the team’s week long test programme following the launch of the FW28 last week.

“We have closely followed Joao Paulo’s career to date and it would appear to be an entirely appropriate time to offer him his first F1 test,” said team boss Frank Williams. “We’re looking forward to seeing how he responds to the challenge.”

Oliveira started his motorsport career in 1998, with entries in Formula Ford and Formula Chevrolet-Opel, prior to competing in the South American F3 series for two seasons, claiming championship honours in the B-class in ’99 and in the A-class in 2000. A further two seasons of German F3 followed, in which Oliveira took the silverware in style with 13 wins from 16 races in 2003.

He is one of a long list of Brazilian drivers that has been brought to the team’s attention by major sponsor and fuel supplier, Petrobras. Previously, Max Wilson, Bruno Junqueira, Jaime Melo, Ricardo Sperafico, Antonio Pizzonia and Nelsinho Piquet have all been offered the opportunity to test one of Williams’ race cars.