Long-time McLaren tester Alex Wurz has been signed by Williams as official test and third driver for the 2006 season. Wurz was displaced at McLaren when the team confirmed 2005 DTM champion Gary Paffett as a tester for this season alongside Pedro de la Rosa. Williams was thought to be keen on former Jordan racer Narain Karthikeyan, who has been testing for the Grove outfit, but Wurz got the official role.
"Ever since I met Frank Williams during an International Touring Car meeting in 1996, I have wanted to drive for his team and I am delighted that the opportunity has now arisen," said Wurz.
"I feel full of energy to be part of Williams' 2006 season attack and look forward to working closely with Mark (Webber) and Nico (Rosberg), they are quick drivers and I believe that together we will achieve great results. The testing and Friday driver role is a responsibility I am familiar with and I will throw all my experience into it. I cannot wait to start."
Wurz has a wealth of experience as a test driver and formerly as a race driver with Benetton. The Austrian's name was a familiar sight at the top of the Friday test times with McLaren in 2005 and he also scored a fourth place at Imola when deputising for the injured Juan Pablo Montoya.
"I am delighted with the agreement we have reached with Alex," said team boss Sir Frank Williams. "Everyone at Williams believes he will bring significant improvements to the team's performance, on Grand Prix Fridays in particular, and to our testing programme in general."
Wurz will line up alongside racers Mark Webber and F1 rookie Nico Rosberg. Williams will be Cosworth-powered in 2006 and will run with Bridgestone tyres. The team's new image will be revealed on January 27th.