Dani Clos got his first taste of Formula One power as he joined the AT&T Williams team for this week's final F1 group test at Jerez de la Frontera, and created enough of an impression that it is being suggested that he may run with the squad again.
The 19-year old Catalan completed 75 laps, setting the second best time of the three 'young drivers' in action with a lap in 1min 23.224secs, and trailing only BMW Sauber's Marko Asmer, who was not only in a better car, but also entered the test with more F1 mileage under his belt.
"My year is not living up to expectation, but this test compensates in part for that," Clos told Spain's as.com
, referring to his dismal F3 Euroseries campaign, "Above that, however, it also provides me with more hope and determination for the future. Testing the Williams is the best injection of morale that I could have had.
"Our objective wasn't chasing a time ago because, among others things, we were very heavy with fuel, but to finish the day without errors and being able to do what was asked of me.... I can't be more pleased."
Williams technical director Sam Michael revealed that Clos, the 22nd Spaniard to get behind the wheel of an F1 car, wasn't just racking up miles for his own benefit, but also helping the team with developments for the end of the current season and, more importantly, for 2009, including 'successful preliminary tests of the KERS flywheel'.
The relationship between Williams and Clos stretches back to the start of the year, amid rumours that the Grove team was poised to relocate its test team to Spain. The former Renault RDD programme member had visited the team's factory several times, and has sampled its simulator in advance of actually getting behind the wheel of a real F1 car.
Now, having finally tasted the real thing, Clos' competent performance has led to moves being put in place for him to run again, this time in Barcelona, during the 'flyaway' conclusion to the season.