Reigning GP3 champion Alex Lynn was unveiled as the new Development Driver for Williams Martini Racing at Jerez last weekend, before the first official Formula One test of this season got underway.
His primary role will be using the team’s simulation tools to assist the race engineers with the development and set up of the Williams Mercedes FW37 for each Grand Prix. Alex will also test the F1 car on track in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said: “Williams has a strong track record in bringing young talent through the ranks and our Development Driver position is designed to fully immerse new recruits into the inner workings of a Formula One team. As a British team we are always on the lookout for emerging home-grown talent and Alex has caught our eye with his impressive performances”
Alex will work alongside race drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa for the famous British team this year, which finished third in the 2014 constructors’ championship following a highly successful season that included eight podiums.
Throughout the year, the 21-year-old will also compete in the F1 support series GP2, driving for multiple championship winning team DAMS.
We caught up with Alex as he joined Williams at Jerez, where the team’s striking new FW37 was unveiled.
Alex, what does it mean to you to be confirmed in this role at Williams?
AL: “It’s quite literally the culmination of a dream for me. Ever since I started my career, the goal has been to reach Formula One, and this is what has motivated me in everything I have achieved so far. To finally get here with a British team like Williams, which has an unsurpassed history and heritage in Formula One, thanks to so many supremely talented people, feels incredibly special.”
Which opportunities could this lead to?
AL: “I have the genuine opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Valtteri, a former GP3 champion like me who joined Williams in exactly this role. My aim is to work hard, be inspired by his lead, and emerge as the Formula One frontrunner he has deservedly become. Working with people like Sir Frank Williams and Pat Symonds is also an incredible opportunity for me. There is so much experience here at Williams and I hope to be able to use the knowledge gained from these people to further develop my skills as a racing driver and respected member of this team.”
How long will it take you to settle in to your new role?
AL: “I actually feel at home here already. Everybody has been incredibly welcoming and there’s a brilliant atmosphere within the team, which combines state-of-the-art knowledge with a real family feeling. It’s not hard to see why Williams has been able to achieve the success that it has last year, and all the signs for the future seem even more positive. I’m actually in the process of moving house to Oxford and will be living less than seven miles from the team HQ in Grove – this will allow me to be in and around the Williams team as much as possible.”
How hard is it going to be combining racing in GP2 with carrying out development driver duties in F1?
AL: “These are two complementary roles, particularly since GP2 races on the same weekends and circuits as Formula 1. I will also sit in on some F1 debriefs during race weekends which will benefit not only my GP2 race preparation but also my long-term understanding of the Williams team and car. It’s certainly going to be an exciting season ahead.”