As expected after his impressive test at Jerez earlier this month, Nico H?lkenberg has been confirmed as the latest addition to the AT&T Williams line-up.

The 20-year old German will become the team's official test driver for the 2008 season, which he is expected to combine with a renewed assault on the F3 Euroseries.
H?lkenberg tested for the first time last week, making a positive impression on the team as he completed 425km of development work. Following a detailed assessment of his capabilities both in and out of the cockpit, he was offered the chance to replace Kazuki Nakajima a test driver next season, following the Japanese driver's promotion to a race seat.

"The two days of testing at Jerez were the realisation of an ambition that has driven me ever since my first kart race back in 1997," H?lkenberg admitted, "When I actually got out on track in the FW29, it fulfilled every expectation and more. So to have represented myself sufficiently well to have been appointed as the team's official test driver is the most amazing news and, for me, Christmas has come early!"

H?lkenberg sprang to prominence in his debut season in the A1 Grand Prix series, winning races against more experienced opposition despite being a rookie at that level. Over the past three seasons, the former German kart champion has claimed 25 race wins and 14 poles in 68 appearances across A1GP, German FBMW, F3 in both Germany and the Euroseries, winning the FBMW title and helping Germany team to the A1GP title. He also won the Ultimate Masters of F3 at Zolder this season.

"Nico has been through the rigours of our driver assessment programme, culminating in his two-day test in Jerez last week," Williams technical director Sam Michael confirmed, "Clearly, he has shown demonstrable talent in the junior formulae, but it was important for us to see if he could make the step to F1. On the evidence we have so far, Nico is a quick and capable driver."

 

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