McLaren has extended its contract with Gary Paffett.

Gary Paffett, Test Driver, McLaren Mercedes in last years car
Gary Paffett, Test Driver, McLaren Mercedes in last years car

Photo by: xpb.cc

The Briton recently signed a new long-term deal with Mercedes-Benz to keep racing in the DTM, sparking reports the 30-year-old is now first in line to race for Mercedes GP should the Brackley team's regulars be unable.

But although Pedro de la Rosa has the primary role, Paffett actually remains a test and reserve driver at McLaren, and that deal now extends into 2012, the British team announced on Tuesday.

The new deal "allows him to continue dovetailing his Formula One test duties with his racing career", read a media statement.

"Gary has become a vital part of our technical support and development team, both at the track and in the simulator," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Paffett, managed by former McLaren driver Mark Blundell, joined the team in 2005.