Not content with retaining the services of third-year Formula One driver Nico Rosberg for 2008, Williams appears intent on confusing less hardened onlookers by adding a second German with a similar name to the line-up.

F3 Euroseries frontrunner Nico Hulkenberg is expected to join the Grove-based team at this week's final group test of the season, in Jerez, and could be in line to replace the promoted Kazuki Nakajima as the squad's official test and reserve driver. Nakajima fulfilled the role in 2007, before being elevated to the race team for the Brazilian GP and, subsequently, the 2008 campaign. The Japanese driver replaces Alex Wurz, the veteran also having made the race team after a year spent testing.

Hulkenberg comes highly-rated following his title-winning displays with Team Germany in last winter's A1 Grand Prix series, and was expected to be a target for several F1 teams with an eye on the future. He won the German Formula BMW title before graduating to F3, where he combined a season in the German national series with his international debut in A1GP. This year, he finished third in his maiden F3 Euroseries assault, taking a handful of race wins to add to his Zolder Masters success with the crack ASM operation.

Williams has confirmed that Hulkenberg - like Michael Schuamcher, managed by Willi Weber - will form part of its line-up in Jerez, where he is expected to get at least a couple of days behind the wheel, but would not reveal how close the 20-year old was to landing the third seat for 2008. The team is understood to have a couple of other drivers under consideration, and may run them in the New Year depending on the outcome of this week's track action.

Hulkenberg is expected to stay in F3, and the Euroseries, next season, regardless of any F1 test role, and should lead ASM in pursuit of another title following Romain Grosjean's success this year.

 

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