Narain joins Williams as test driver

"...having tested for Williams late last year, joining the team was the best option for me," said Karthikeyan.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 18:45 IST

Narain Karthikeyan has joined the Williams Formula One team as a test driver for the upcoming season.

Karthikeyan impressed Williams bosses during a test at Jerez in southern Spain last month, albeit not sufficiently to win the role of Friday test driver, which will be filled by the experienced Alex Wurz.

The team's supremo, Sir Frank Williams, said: "Narain's brief period in the car in December, during which he provided valuable feedback, made a very distinct impression on our engineers.

"Having a year's GP racing and testing to his credit is also advantageous for us so I am pleased we can now formally confirm his appointment to the team."

Karthikeyan was dropped by rival team Midland (formerly Jordan) after driving for them throughout the 2005 season. His best finish was fourth in the US Grand Prix, where only six cars took part following a row over tyres.

The 29-year-old insisted however that he was happy with a move that represents a significant drop down the Formula One pecking order.

"It has taken some while to resolve what I would be doing for 2006, but having tested for Williams late last year, joining the team was the best option for me and I am delighted that we can finally confirm this today. I am looking forward to testing the FW28 and making a contribution to Williams' competitiveness this season."

Karthikeyan, dubbed the 'fastest Indian in the world', did not finish higher than 11th with the exception of the US race and his debut season in Formula One ended on an ignominious note when he crashed into a wall in Shanghai.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 18:45 IST