On Monday, Jack Aitken, who had been with the Renault Sport Academy since 2016 before being promoted to the role of test driver in 2019, announced that he had parted company with the French manufacturer.
“I would like to express my thanks to Renault and the Academy for helping me reach a position where I can now take a very exciting next step in my career which will keep me on course to fulfil my ambition of reaching the very top of motorsport,” he tweeted. “I wish the Renault F1 Team and its drivers every success for the future.”
24 hours later that “exciting next step” turned out to be a move to Grove as official reserve driver for Williams.
Aitken, 24 joins Williams following an impressive season in F2 in which he won three races for the Campos Racing team (its first ever victories in the series) and finished fifth in the standings.
Previously, he was a double Formula Renault champion and went on to be runner-up in GP3 in 2017. Alongside his F2 racing commitments, Aitken spent time with the Renault F1 team as its reserve and test driver, gaining valuable experience both on and off the track.
In his new role, Aitken will attend all 22 Grands Prix this year, integrating himself into the trackside team and be on hand should the need arise to replace one of the race drivers.
He will undertake crucial work in the team’s simulator and will make his debut on-track appearance during an F1 race weekend by taking part in a Friday FP1 session. Finally, he will support the team in media and marketing activities throughout the year.
“It is a great honour to join ROKiT Williams Racing as their reserve driver,” said Aitken. “Williams is a team with strong heritage, and continued longevity, and I’m looking forward to directly contributing to their development through my simulator and testing work.”
“It is obvious from what Jack has achieved so far he is a young driver with a great career ahead of him,” said Claire Williams, “and we believe he has the right credentials to reach the top in the sport. Jack has proved his ability in FIA Formula 2 and GP3 and we look forward to seeing what he can achieve as the team’s official reserve driver.”
Other than Aitken, Williams now has Dan Ticktum and Jaimie Chadwick as development drivers, and Roy Nissany as official test driver.