Williams Re-Sign Gene as Third Driver

The Williams Formula One team today announced that Spaniard Marc Gene has re-signed as the British squad' official test and reserve driver for the 2004 season.

Williams Re-Sign Gene as Third Driver

The Williams Formula One team today announced that Spaniard Marc Gene has re-signed as the British squad' official test and reserve driver for the 2004 season.

"We are fortunate to have a driver of Marc's calibre who can test with metronomic precision and efficiency, but who also has the racecraft and depth of experience to represent the team at a Grand Prix when circumstances require," said team principal Frank Williams.

"I am very pleased that we have managed to extend our relationship for another season given that Marc's testing knowledge and abilities are highly regarded elsewhere."

29-year old Gene joined the Grove-based outfit back in 2001, and in three years of work he has completed nearly 42,000 kilometres of testing for Williams. The Spaniard returned to racing action this year, when he had to replace German Ralf Schumacher at the Italian Grand Prix. He went on to finish in fifth place.

"I am delighted to continue my relationship with the BMW WilliamsF1 team for next year," said Gene. "2003 has been a very busy and special year, busy because so far this season I have completed 24,000 testing kilometres, and obviously special since it marked my debut with the team as a race driver at Monza, a race I really enjoyed."

A Williams spokesman told Atlas F1 that, despite Gene's renewal, they were not ruling out signing a fourth driver for the 2004 season if their testing programme required it. He denied, however, that Canadian Jacques Villeneuve had contacted them asking for a testing seat for 2004.

The McLaren team revealed earlier this month that Villeneuve, without a seat for next year, had personally contacted them about a Formula One testing role after losing his drive with BAR.

Williams said earlier this year that Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia could return to the team following his dismal season at Jaguar. Pizzonia, who was replaced at Jaguar by Justin Wilson, had been a tester for Williams in 2002.

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