Aguris van der Garde named as Spyker tester 01 Feb 2007
...along with Winkelhock, Valles and newcomer Fuzy
The Spyker team have announced a four-man testing line-up for 2007, including Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde - who was previously confirmed by Super Aguri as their test and reserve driver for the coming season - Fairuz Fauzy, Adrian Valles and Markus Winkelhock.
Super Aguri announced van der Gardes appointment last December and he began testing with the Japanese squad in Jerez only this week. However, he is understood to have signed a contract with rivals Spyker in the early hours of Thursday morning. Super Aguri have issued no official comment on the matter.
"It's a proud moment for me to be selected to really start my Formula One career with the Dutch Spyker team, said van der Garde in Spykers press release. I have a lot to learn but this chance will give me everything I need."
The 22-year-old from Rhenen in the Netherlands is graduating to Formula One racing from the highly competitive F3 Euroseries, in which he won two races in 2006, following in the footsteps of Spyker's new race driver Adrian Sutil.
Malaysian Fauzy joins Spyker from GP2 and the A1GP series. He started in karting, securing numerous titles in national and international competitions and later expanded his racing experience when he moved to Europe in 2000 to compete in Formula Ford and Formula Renault. After gathering valuable single-seater mileage he then started a serious campaign in the British Formula 3 series.
"Ever since Formula One came to Malaysia, I have dreamed of this opportunity and I am excited to carry the ambitions of my country into the pinnacle of motorsport," said Fauzy of his appointment.
Spykers other two test signings both have previous experience with the team. German Winkelhock was a Friday driver last year, while Spaniard Valles also made his Formula One test debut with the squad - then MF1 - in 2006.
"I really enjoyed the work which I did with the team last year and I am very pleased to be able to continue the programme this year," said Winkelhock, a veteran of both touring car and single-seater competition, including DTM and the World Series by Renault.
"I had a good test with the team last year and I am happy that they have invited me back to play an important role as Spyker starts its ambitious programme," added Valles, whose experience includes GP2 and the World Series by Nissan.
Explaining the thinking behind Spykers varied test line-up, team principal Colin Kolles said: "I initiated our young driver programme when we took over Jordan and already we have seen success with Adrian Sutil graduating to a race driving position in the team.
"I also think it is a good reflection on how our team operates that we are able to bring out the best in these young drivers. It is an important part of what we do and I am confident that there will also be long-term benefit both to the team and Formula One."
Echoing Kolles comments, Spykers F1 Director Michiel Mol added: "The Spyker team has an important role to play in Formula One in creating opportunities for young drivers to perform at the highest level of the sport. It helps to bring new nationalities, extra media and fresh sponsorship to the sport and we are proud to play our part."
Spyker did not specify which of the four men would serve as their reserve driver for the opening round of the 2007 season in Australia in March.