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Aitken stays on at Williams as reserve after making F1 debut

by Ida Wood

Photo: Williams Racing

Jack Aitken will remain at Williams as its reserve driver for 2021, after making his Formula 1 debut with the team last year.

The Formula 2 race-winner switched allegiances from Renault, a team he joined as one of its juniors after winning the Formula Renault Eurocup and Alps titles in 2015 before working his way up to reserve driver status, at the start of 2020.

That move proved fruitful as he made his first F1 free practice appearance at the Styrian Grand Prix, and was then called up to substitute for George Russell at the Sakhir Grand Prix when Russell replaced the ill Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes-AMG.

“After providing me with one of the most special moments of my career to date last year, I am absolutely delighted to continue with Williams in the position of reserve driver,” said Aitken.

“In my short time at Grove I have already found many friends, and a deep desire for success as a team.

“The professionalism and work ethic of everyone here is something that makes me wear my kit with pride, and having had a taste of racing in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, I am fully intent on providing as much support as possible while continuing my development as a race driver.

“I will complement this role with other programmes, to be announced shortly, which will aid me in this goal and provide opportunities to expand my skills even further.”

Aitken has spent the past three years racing in F2, and his standout 2019 campaign with Campos Racing resulted in three wins and fifth in the points. The Spanish team struggled last season, and Aitken chose not to remain there for 2021.

He is set to announce at least one programme elsewhere in motorsport to complement his simulator commitments at Williams’ Grove factory and another free practice appearance that has been lined up for one of the F1 grands prix.