WilliamsF1 today confirmed the re-appointment of Narain Karthikeyan as one of the team's official test drivers for the 2007 season.
Karthikeyan, who joined the squad in 2006, will add a vital element of continuity to the team's test and development programme as WilliamsF1 forms a new technical alliance with Toyota in 2007. Narain piloted the partnership's first collaborative efforts on track at Silverstone earlier this month with an interim FW28B carrying the Toyota V8 and the new Williams gearbox and he will continue to spearhead the intensive testing programme into 2007 with the launch of the FW29.
As Formula One moves to a single tyre supplier for next season, Narain's detailed Bridgestone experience will be invaluable to the team, given his racing experience with the Toyota-powered Jordan and Bridgestone in 2005 and testing with Williams in 2006.
On confirmation of Narain's re-appointment, WilliamsF1 Team Principal, Frank Williams said, "Next year will be an important year for Williams with the transition to Toyota power and so it is now clear that we will be well positioned with the continuity and benefit of Narain's experience. His appointment is extremely popular within the team because he is hard working, conscientious and capable in the car. It is also significant that Narain carries with him India's growing Formula One interests, which is very exciting."
For his part, Narain responded, "Naturally as a racing driver, my first priority is to compete, but I would far rather test with a leading team than accept a race seat that offered no real potential to learn and develop. Next season is extremely important for Williams with the new partners at Toyota. Williams is a team that exists only to race and I hope that whatever I can contribute to this ultimate objective will be valued by the team."