Williams Racing have announced that British-Korean Formula 2 star Jack Aitken will continue his role as the teams’ Formula 1 reserve driver in 2021.
The 25-year-old made his F1 debut last year thanks to his reserve role, stepping in for Mercedes-bound George Russell in the Sakhir Grand Prix, and participated in a Free Practice 1 session in Austria.
Aitken also completed numerous simulator duties for the Grove-based outfit, helping the team progress forward in what was an incredibly difficult 2020 season.
Thanks to a new contract renewal, Aitken will resume these duties and continue to feature in practice sessions where necessary during 2021. The youngster is not expected to race in this year’s Formula 2 championship as a result of funding setbacks.
“After providing me with one of the most special moments of my career to date last year, I am absolutely delighted to continue with Williams in the position of Reserve Driver.” Said Aitken.
“In my short time at Grove I have already found many friends, and a deep desire for success as a team. The professionalism and work ethic of everyone here is something that makes me wear my kit with pride, and having had a taste of racing in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, I am fully intent on providing as much support as possible while continuing my development as a race driver.
The reserve driver also commented that his newly renewed role would be ‘complemented with other programmes’ throughout the year, which will be ‘announced shortly’
Team Principal Simon Roberts reciprocated Aitken’s delight, citing that he is ‘pleased to retain Jack for the 2021 season.’ After taking on new ownership last year, Roberts is expecting big progress from his Williams team, and thus expects the same from Aitken.
“He is a great talent and quickly became a much-liked member of the team. He really impressed us with his performance at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year in Bahrain, stepping up to the challenge at short notice to put in a strong performance over the course of the weekend. “
“Jack is a talented individual that works incredibly hard, and we look forward to seeing him contribute to the team once again this season.” Roberts concluded.
With George Russell likely to be heading off to Mercedes in 2022, a seat is rumoured to be up for a grabs at client-team Williams. The historic outfit will have only a sparse pool of Mercedes juniors to call upon if this is the case, so Aitken will no doubt be in the mix if his reserve duties prove successful.