Webber Confirmed as Benetton Test Driver

Australian Mark Webber will be Benetton's test driver for 2001, it was announced today.

Webber Confirmed as Benetton Test Driver

Australian Mark Webber will be Benetton's test driver for 2001, it was announced today.

Webber's testing duties with Benetton will be combined with a second season in Formula 3000, after he finished third in the series this year driving for the European Aviation team.

Webber, speaking at the launch of next year's Australian Grand Prix, said he was looking forward to joining the Benetton team and its drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button.

"I really enjoyed the testing at Estoril and working with the team," said Webber. "They were all very supportive of what I was trying to achieve and have been great ever since."

"I think we’ve struck up a good rapport already, but I'm looking to build upon it further and to providing genuine back-up to Giancarlo, Jenson and the engineers next season."

The 24-year-old from Queanbeyan, near Canberra, became the favourite to land the test driver's seat after a test with Benetton at Estoril two months ago. Webber equalled then bettered Fisichella's best time, earning strong praise from Benetton's technical director, Pat Symonds.

"When Webber tested the B200 this year, we were impressed by his attitude and his skill," explained Benetton's managing director, Flavio Briatore.

"I'm happy we can give him the opportunity to develop his Formula One experience as well as give him the chance to race in Formula 3000."

The feeling was mutual, as Webber explained how happy he was to be part of the Benetton/Renault organisation.

"I’m very excited to have such a great opportunity ahead of me next year and to be linking with two of the most respected names in Formula One, Benetton and Renault," said Webber.

"It’s a great opportunity for me to get some mileage and experience in a Formula One car and I can learn a lot from working with a top team."

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