The AT&T Williams team today confirmed that the twenty year old driver, Nico HÃ¼lkenberg from Emmerich in Germany, has been contracted as the team’s official test driver for the forthcoming 2008 season.
HÃ¼lkenberg, who tested for the team last week in Jerez, made a positive impression and conducted himself with maturity over the two days and 425kms of development work. Following the detailed assessment of his capabilities both in and out of the cockpit, he has been awarded the official test driver role which will commence in 2008.
On the confirmation of his appointment, Nico said, “The two days of Formula One testing with the AT&T Williams team last week in Jerez were the realization of an ambition that has driven me ever since my first kart race back in 1997. When I actually got out on track in the FW29, it fulfilled every expectation and more. So to have represented myself sufficiently well to have been appointed as the team’s official test driver is the most amazing news and for me, Christmas has come early."
In the past three seasons, the former German kart champion has contested the German Formula BMW Championship, German F3, A1 GP and the Formula Three Euroseries. From the 68 starts he has made in these various championships, he has claimed 25 race wins and 14 poles, winning the Formula BMW ADAC title and helping the German national team to its A1 GP title in 2006/7 as a series rookie. Nico has also performed strongly in a number of non-championship races including winning the Ultimate Masters of Formula 3 at Zolder. In 2008, he will again contest the Formula 3 Euroseries alongside his Formula One testing duties.
Sam Michael, the Williams Technical Director said, “Nico has been through the rigors of our driver assessment program culminating in his two day test in Jerez last week. Clearly he has shown demonstrable talent in the junior formulae, but it was important for us to see if he could make the step to Formula One. On the evidence we have so far, Nico is a quick and capable driver."