The Williams F1 team has recalled one of its former drivers to help mentor the two relatively inexperienced pilots that form its 2012 line-up.
Alex Wurz raced for the Grove-based team back in 2007, but has been hired to act as 'driver mentor' to the combination of Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna, who head into the coming season with fewer than 50 races between them. Wurz, who has 18 years' of racing - and eleven in F1 - to call upon, will begin his role with immediate effect, joining the team at this week's Barcelona test before accompanying the drivers to races throughout the season.
“This is a great initiative by Williams and highlights just how hard the team is pushing to optimise its performance," the Austrian commented, "Throughout my career as a sportsman, which started at the age of twelve in BMX racing, includes over a decade in F1 and is still ongoing [with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship], I am lucky to have gained so much experience.
"I grew up in a family business of driver training and naturally I enjoy helping fellow athletes to operate at their best. I'm really looking forward to using my expertise to help Williams at this important stage in its history.”
The addition of Wurz follows Williams' recent engagement with Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson to improve pit-stop performance as it attempts to recover from its worst-ever season in the top flight.
“I am delighted to be working once more with Alex and look forward to his valuable input with the drivers as the whole team strives to continuously improve in all aspects of its operation,” chief operations engineer Mark Gillan confirmed.
Senna and Maldonado will continue their preparation for the new season by testing the FW34 at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya over the next four days.