Aitken joins Williams as reserve driver after leaving Renault
A day after announcing his departure from Renault as test driver to start “a new chapter”, Jack Aitken has been confirmed as Williams’ reserve driver for the 2020 campaign.
Aitken, who finished fifth in the F2 championship with Campos last year, held a similar role at Renault in 2018, before it was revised to test driver for 2019.
Crucially, the arrangement includes an FP1 session drive during the season - a step up for the 24-year-old who was limited to testing appearances for Renault. He will also attend all 22 races with the team this year, and spend extensive time in the simulator.
READ MORE: Can Williams escape the back of the grid in 2020?
Aitken said: “It is a great honour to join Williams as their Reserve Driver for the 2020 season. Williams is a team with strong heritage, and continued longevity, and I’m looking forward to directly contributing to their development through my simulator and testing work.”
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams added: “It is obvious from what Jack has achieved so far he is a young driver with a great career ahead of him and we believe he has the right credentials to reach the top in the sport. Jack has proved his ability in FIA Formula 2 and GP3 and we look forward to seeing what he can achieve as the team’s Official Reserve Driver.”
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READ MORE: Williams strengthen technical team for 2020
Lawrence Barretto [Senior Writer, F1.com] says…
This move makes sense for both sides. Leaving Renault, and the backing of a manufacturer, will have been a big decision for Aitken, but his chances of progressing to a race seat were limited given the strength of the line-up in Daniel Ricciardo and the arriving Esteban Ocon.
In Williams, the chances of a race seat becoming available in the future, should George Russell or Nicholas Latifi move on, and Aitken getting the nod are higher.
For Williams, they get an experienced racing driver with proven speed to bolster their young driver line-up that already features Dan Ticktum, Jamie Chadwick and Roy Nissany. His knowledge in the simulator will be of particular use as Williams look to escape the back of the grid this season.