(© Ben Johnston 2015)
The Williams Martini Racing Team dropped a bit of a bombshell on Thursday as they announced that they have signed former Sauber and Force India driver Adrian Sutil as their official reserve driver despite the fact that they already have Susie Wolff as their Test driver.
Wolff had been tipped to replace Valtteri Bottas had the Finn been unable to drive the FW37 in Malaysia this weekend however Williams Technical Director Pat Symonds put an end to that by saying that Wolff was only the team’s test driver and not a reserve driver.
Sutil’s appointment means that the team now have Alex Lynn as Development driver a role that Wolff started in. Wolff is now test driver.
She travels to all the races and is due to test for the team in Barcelona following this year’s Spanish Grand Prix in May. Team boss Sir Frank Williams justified the signing of Sutil by saying that it was very important for the team to sign a driver with recent race experience if they want to keep up to speed with the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.
The question now is what will Wolff do now? Sutil will now get time in the Williams simulator to acclimatize to the Williams car and will be called on if the need arises to replace either Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas.
However his signing would appear to undermine the extremely hard work that Susie Wolff has done for the team when you consider that she would have been the obvious choice having the experience of working with the Grove based outfit and also having driven the FW37 during winter testing. To me the team have shot themselves in the foot and missed an opportunity promote an extremely talented driver who has proven herself.
© Ben Johnston 2015