Aitken recently announced that after four years, he was leaving Renault’s young driver programme and now we realise the reason why – he’s becoming the third driver for Williams.
Jack will be back having a very hands-on role with the team as he’ll attend every race and work hard back at the factory doing simulator work. Best of all, however, he’ll finally get to drive an F1 car on the track during a Grand Prix weekend with an appearance during an FP1 session at some point in 2020. He said of the decision to move to Williams.
“Williams has a great heritage in the sport and it’s an honour to be a part of the team. There’s a real pathway for young drivers at the team and I’ve been made to feel incredibly welcome from the very first time that I was invited to Grove and went on the simulator. I know that everyone at the factory is working extremely hard to help the team to develop, and with the experience I’ve already gained on and off the track in Formula 1, I’m excited to contribute towards that.”
“I am also excited to have the opportunity to drive the F1 car in a Free Practice session. Although I have done a lot of work in Renault’s F1 machinery over the past couple of years, the opportunity to drive as part of an F1 weekend, in front of all the fans will be a fantastic experience.”
Oh, you guys been waiting? My bad. 2020 @WilliamsRacing F1 Reserve Driver. 🚀 I’m hugely excited, because they want to be back to their very best, have some stellar people making it happen, and I’m going to be doing all I can to contribute as well. Let’s go. #YOTUS 😉 pic.twitter.com/jOkVzYipid
— Jack Aitken – 한세용 (@JaitkenRacer) February 4, 2020
Aitken joining Williams also marks a little bit of a reunion in terms of driver line-up – he was teammates with George Russell in GP3 and Formula 2, and has raced against Nicholas Latifi there for the last couple of years. If either of those guys finds themselves unable to race some reason, Jack will be the guy to step up and substitute for an entire grand prix weekend.
The news follows an absolutely superb 2019 for Aitken, with three victories in F2 (including the overtake of the season to take the lead on home turf at Silverstone) on his way to fifth in the championship, giving the Campos team its most successful Formula 2 season ever.
Williams has a pretty strong record of giving young talent a chance and we can’t wait to see how Jack gets on from here.