The Spyker F1 team has announced that Adrian Sutil will partner Christijan Albers in the 2007 FIA F1 World Championship after signing a 'long term contract'.

Although no details were given on the exact length of the deal, Sutil is familiar with the Silverstone-based outfit having been one of their test and reserve drivers' in 2006, driving in three Friday practice sessions, en-route to winning the Japanese F3 Championship with the Tom's Toyota Team.

Speaking after confirmation of the deal, the 23-year-old conceded that he was surprised to have gotten a race seat: "I really enjoyed being in the F1 paddock this year and to be honest I thought I would be a test driver in 2007," he confirmed. "Colin Kolles and Michiel Mol have been fantastically patient and supportive though while this package became reality.

"I look forward to repaying their faith in me but right now I'm just going to enjoy the best Christmas present ever!"

Spyker F1 team boss, Colin Kolles meanwhile was equally happy to see his protege graduate to F1 and reckons that the German has just as much potential as Lewis Hamilton, who has also of course been given the chance to race at the pinnacle of the sport next year, but with McLaren. Indeed Sutil was runner-up to Hamilton in the F3 Euro Series in 2005, when both were apart of the ASM outfit - they finished 1-2 in the championship that year.

"This is a great signing for team but also a proud one for me personally," added Kolles. "Adrian made his F3 debut with Team Kolles in 2004 and quite obviously had huge potential when he scored his first pole position in his third race. He has driven for two great teams since then and matured very quickly.

"Everyone at Spyker was hugely impressed when he drove for us in 2006 which is why we have worked long and hard to get him in the race team."

Spyker director of F1, Michiel Mol is also convinced that Sutil is the right man to partner Albers and is predicting that he will have a bright future: "Being able to sign Adrian on a long term contract is yet another strong signal of Spyker's vision and commitment to rebuild the team around young and talented people," he continued.

"Adrian will grow with the team and will be a major asset as we target success in years to come."

Where this leaves former Spyker F1 driver, Tiago Monteiro is uncertain, although with only Scuderia Toro Rosso yet to confirm their line-up, the options, at least in terms of F1, are extremely limited.