Carlin have confirmed that William Buller will complete their GP3 Series driver lineup for the coming season, as well as driving for them in the FIA's new European Formula 3 Championship.
Buller has been testing for Carlin's GP3 squad throughout the off-season, including finishing fifth fastest at the first day of the Silverstone test yesterday. He joins Antonio Felix da Costa and Alex Brundle in the team's lineup.
It will be a return to racing on the Formula 1 support bill for the Northern Irishman, having previously competed in Formula BMW Europe in 2008 and 2009. Since then he has driven in British F3 for the Hitech and Fortec teams, finishing eighth and then fourth in the standings with a total of 14 podiums including three wins.
“I've tested the GP3 car a few times over the winter with Carlin and it's gone very well,” said the 19-year-old. “GP3 is now an established series with great racing, plus it has a lot of commercial and sporting benefits for me as I develop my career. Live TV on the new Sky Sports F1 channel will be good for my sponsors and the opportunity to show the F1 teams what I can do again is a major plus point for me as a driver.
“I know most of the tracks from Formula BMW, but I am going to gain even more experience of competing on a number of Formula 1 circuits, which will help me as I move forwards in my career.”
Trevor Carlin added: “Will has made a great impression on the team in pre-season testing. He has made a big step forwards in the car as demonstrated by his pace at Silverstone this week. Together with Alex and Antonio, Will creates an extremely strong team for us in GP3 which I believe has the potential to challenge for the title.”
Buller will lineup alongside Carlin's British F3 driver and Red Bull Junior Carlos Sainz Jr for the FIA European Formula 3 Championship. The series has been introduced this year and will comprise of ten race meetings including the eight F3 Euro Series rounds and two British F3 events. Carlin previously entered the Euro Series in 2008-09.
“As a driver it was difficult to wait for everything to get sorted, but I’m delighted to be signed with Carlin as they are one of the best teams there is, as their record of championships shows,” said Buller.
“I believe the new FIA European F3 Championship will be a major series in the coming years and I really want to try and win it this season. There is a lot of effort going into the programme and it's great to be able to count on the support of Carlin, Volkswagen and all my sponsors.”
Sainz added: “I'm very happy to be adding more races to my calendar in 2012, and would like to thank Volkswagen, Red Bull and Carlin for making this possible. I am really looking forward to the start of the championship, even though we arrive with hardly any experience of the Hankook tyres. I am still very optimistic about us making a good start however, especially on a track like Hockenheim, which I really like. For sure it will be a busy season, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
Carlin said: “We still firmly believe that Formula 3 is an extremely important learning ground for young drivers, and having been presented with the opportunity to race in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. Our programme in the British Series remains unaffected, and the team are excited about the new challenge in Europe this season. With Will and Carlos we clearly have a very talented team, and I look forward to seeing them fight for race wins this year.”