PLEASED AS PUNCH: German driver Adrian Sutil strutting about in his Williams' gear in Malaysia. Image: Facebook / Glenn Dunbar
SEPANG, Malaysia - After a quiet winter for the experienced 32-year-old Adrian Sutil he must have thoughts his Formula 1 dreams had been put on hold, but now it has changed completely.
Some Le Mans rumours and a low-profile legal dispute with Sauber aside, little had been heard from Sutil since the German's 2015 contract was not honoured by the struggling Swiss team. However, on Thursday (March 26), British outfit Williams announced it had signed the veteran of more than 100 grands prix as its new reserve driver.
Williams had admitted in Australia two weeks earlier that the team had no official reserve on its books. When Valtteri Bottas was hurt and despite early speculation that tester Susie Wolff might get the nod, it was believed Mercedes' Pascal Wehrlein was put on stand-by for Malaysia.
Bottas has recovered but it was at Sepang, scene of Sunday's F1 GP, that Williams announced Sutil as official reserve. The German then strolled into the hot Malaysian paddock wearing team gear and had a seat fitting in Bottas' cockpit.
If Finn Bottas' back problems recur on Friday the team will have enough time to get Sutil up to speed so that Williams is not again reduced to a points-sapping one-car outfit for the race.
Team boss Sir Frank Williams said: "The fight for a top Constructors' championship position will be intense this season so we have selected a driver with recent race experience and are confident that, if the need arises, he will be a solid pair of hands to race the FW37 and assist our 2015 campaign."