Spyker F1 announced on December 21st that Adrian Sutil will race for the team in 2007, alongside Christijan Albers. 23 year-old Sutil, who replaces Tiago Monteiro in the second race seat, drove the third car for the Silverstone squad three times in Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix in 2006. Spyker confirmed that Sutil signed a "long term" contract.
"I really enjoyed being in the F1 paddock this year and to be honest I thought I would be a test driver in 2007," said Sutil. "Colin Kolles and Michiel Mol have been fantastically patient and supportive while this package became reality. I look forward to repaying their faith in me but right now I just going to enjoy the best Christmas present ever."
Sutil was runner up to McLaren's new signing Lewis Hamilton in the 2005 European F3 series then this year he raced in Japanese F3 and took the title. The German was Spyker's third driver at the European GP, France, where he was a notable seventh quickest in the second practice, and in Japan.
"This is a great signing for team but also a proud one for me personally," said Spyker team principal Colin Kolles. "Adrian made his F3 debut with Team Kolles in 2004 and quite obviously had huge potential when he scored his first pole position in his third race."
"He has driven for two great teams since then and matured very quickly. Everyone at Spyker was hugely impressed when he drove for us in 2006 which is why we have worked long and hard to get him in the race team."
Michiel Mol, director of F1 Spyker Cars BV commented: "Being able to sign Adrian on a long term contract is yet another strong signal of Spyker's vision and commitment to rebuild the team around young and talented people. Adrian will grow with the team and will be a major asset as we target success in years to come."
Sutil's signing will be a blow to Monteiro; the Portuguese driver was confident since the end of the season that he would retain his seat for 2007. Spyker has not confirmed any official test driver(s) but during 2006 the team had various names in the third car, including Markus Winkelhock, Gorgio Mondini, Alexandre Premat and Ernesto Viso.
Spyker took over MF1, previously Jordan, in September this year. At the beginning of November Mike Gascoyne, formerly technical director at Jordan, Renault and Toyota, joined as chief technical officer and next season the team will be Ferrari-powered.