Scotsman Di Resta made his F1 debut in 2009 as Force India test driver, after winning the European Formula Three Championship in 2006. He subsequently secured the DTM title in 2010 and in 2011 made his F1 race debut with Force India where he spent three seasons with the team, scoring a total of 121 points.
“I am delighted to be joining Williams as reserve driver and look forward to the 2016 season,” commented Di Resta. “It will be a busy year combining both driving in DTM with Mercedes AMG, and attending the Formula One Grands Prix in my new reserve driver role. I will be giving my full support to both and look forward to the exciting possibilities the year has ahead.”
Di Resta will spend extensive time with Williams at races to ensure he is fully accustomed to the controls and procedures of the team’s Mercedes-powered FW38 car, should he be required to step into the cockpit during the season. He will also spend time integrating himself into the team with some simulator sessions to ensure he is fully prepared for his role this season.
Claire Williams, deputy team principal, added: “We are delighted to welcome someone with Paul’s experience to the team. Having competed in 58 Formula One races throughout his career Paul’s racing knowledge will be invaluable. We are also confident that given his recent Formula One and current DTM experience Paul will be able to confidently step into the FW38 and assist with our 2016 campaign.”
Di Resta takes over the Williams reserve role from former Force India team mate Adrian Sutil. The team’s race line-up for 2016 remains unchanged, with Valtteri Bottas partnering Felipe Massa.
Williams also have GP2 racewinner Alex Lynn on their books as development driver, a role the 22-year-old Briton performed last year.