Paffett joins McLaren

Gary Paffett is to replace Alexander Wurz as the second test driver of the McLaren Mercedes F1 team. The news was announced this morning and leaves Wurz out of work for the moment. Paffett will join Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa developing the MP4-21 and will no doubt be hoping that he will ultimately win a ride with the team in the future, alongside Fernando Alonso.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity and the challenges ahead," said Gary. "This is the culmination of my continuous relationship with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. For my efforts to be officially recognised by one of the most successful Formula One teams and reaching my goal of getting a regular Formula 1 seat is a fantastic feeling. I have really enjoyed my time in the DTM Championship and being able to also continue my relationship with Mercedes-Benz in this manner is the icing on the cake. I'm 100 per cent committed to my role as a Team McLaren Mercedes test driver and can't wait to start the 2006 testing programme."

It is believed that McLaren will continue its unofficial relationship with Lewis Hamilton and will fund his season in GP2 and will probably put Hamilton into a testing role at the end of 2006 before he becomes an official test driver in 2007.

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