In his new role Paffett, 34, will assist the squad’s vehicle science department in developing the Mercedes-powered FW38 at their factory in Grove throughout the year.
“I am really pleased to be joining the Williams team as the simulator driver to aid in the development of this year’s car,” said the Englishman, who took part in 72 official Formula One test days between 2001 and 2013, completing 4,971 laps and clocking up 22,745 km.
“The team has such a great pedigree and history in Formula One. I look forward to supporting the team over this year in my new role.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, added, “We’re delighted to have someone with Gary’s experience join us at Williams. He is a highly professional racing driver and his level of testing knowledge, and ability to analyse data, will significantly help to drive forward development of the FW38 throughout the season.”
Alongside his Formula One test commitments, Paffett has raced in the German DTM series with Mercedes since 2003, winning the title in 2005. He left McLaren, where he conducted extensive simulator work, at the end of 2014.
Williams, who have finished third in the constructors’ championship for the last two seasons, lost former test driver Susie Wolff to retirement at the end of 2015.