With less than a week to go before the first pre-season test, just three seats remain to be filled in the World Series by Renault, after Patrick Pilet, Ryo Fukuda and Andy Soucek inked deals this week.
After enjoying a fine end to the 2005 season with GD Racing, having started the year with Jenzer Motorsport, Frenchman Pilet has committed to contesting the whole of the 2006 campaign with the Italian team. The 2004 French FRenault champion will team up with Matteo Meneghello, who completed his deal with GD just last week.
Another driver with pervious experience in the World Series, Fukuda changes teams only in the sense that new faces are now running his 2005 entry. The Japanese driver will be Tech 1 Racing's second driver in 2006, Simon Abadie's operation having taken over the entry formerly occupied by Serge Saulnier's eponymous team. After taking the 2001 French F3 title with Saulnier, Fukuda rejoined his former employer for last year's World Series, but has yet to make his mark on the series. He will partner rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio in Abadie's outfit.
Spaniard Soucek has been linked with several teams over the winter, following an impressive end-of-season test with Interwetten.com, but has now signed a deal with the Austrian outfit to confirm his graduation from F3. The reigning Spanish champion will partner Carlos Iaconelli in an inexperienced line-up at Interwetten, as the Brazilian has only two races to his credit in the World Series.
With three seats remaining to be confirmed, all eyes will now switch to next week's group test in Barcelona, where a number of drivers are expected to try and do enough to fill the vacancies at Victory Engineering and Eurointernational.