Gene stays on as Williams test driver

Marc Gene will continue in his role as Williams' test and reserve driver for a third straight year after agreeing a one-year extension to his current deal

Gene stays on as Williams test driver

Gene, who spent two years racing in F1 for Minardi, had talked about returning to full-time racing but eventually opted for another season playing back-up to Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya.

"I'm very happy to stay with Williams for another year. Only this team can offer the quality that I want," he said. "To be with such a professional and successful team in F1 is not an easy task. This season has been very intense and I have done more than 18,000 kms, an unattainable number in another team. This shows the confidence that the team has in me."

Team boss Frank Williams has shown great faith in his test drivers in the past, promoting both Damon Hill and David Coulthard from a development role into a race seat. With Schumacher and Montoya both under firm contracts for next season, Gene's chance of racing the FW25 rests on one becoming unavailable for some reason, but Williams feels he will play a vital role as the team seeks to claw back the advantage Ferrari has enjoyed this year.

"I am delighted to have Marc working with us for another season," he said. "He is a tireless worker who is well attuned with the way we operate. The job that he has done so far for our team has contributed significantly to our performance on track and Marc's continued support will be necessary if we are to fulfil our aspirations to return to a winning position."

Gene scored one point in his 33 races for Minardi, finishing sixth in the 1999 European GP.

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