Felipe Nasr joins Williams as test and reserve driver

2014 F1 season

Felipe Nasr, GP2, Silverstone, 2013GP2 driver Felipe Nasr has been appointed as Williams’ test and reserve driver for the forthcoming season.

The team confirmed he will participate in five Friday first practice sessions and three tests for the team.

The 21-year-old from Brasilia has competed in GP2 for the last two seasons and finished fourth in the F1 feeder series last year. He was previously Formula BMW Europe champion in 2009 and British F3 champion in 2011.

Nasr said Williams “have a great history in the sport and some of the greatest Brazilian drivers of all time have driven for the team, so it’s an honour to join names such as [Nelson] Piquet, [Ayrton] Senna and [Felipe] Massa”.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to make the next step in my career and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time in Bahrain.”

Team principal Frank Williams said Nasr’s chance to drive for the team in practice gives him “the perfect chance to showcase his skills”.

“Felipe has a strong track record of success in his career so far and we have been watching him closely for a while,” Williams added. “We have a track record at Williams of bringing through new talent and giving them a chance to show what they can do on the world’s biggest stage.”

Williams also announced a new sponsorship deal with Banco do Brasil, who supported Nasr in GP2.

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26 comments on Felipe Nasr joins Williams as test and reserve driver

  1. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 22nd February 2014, 2:08

    Good to see some teams making decent use out of their reserve drivers. Nasr doesn’t seem like championship-winning material, but he’s a solid talent, not to mention a nightmare for commentators who now have to deal with two similar-sounding Felipes in the same team!

    • Whats Nasr x Magnussen F3 fight result?

      • Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert) said on 22nd February 2014, 7:32

        Same as Vettel vs di Resta. And look where di Resta is now.

        • Nasr and Magnussen was a straighter fight though, as both were in their second F3 season (Kevin 3rd in German F3, Felipe 5th in British F3 the year before). Vettel was already starting to test F1 cars and his focus was there, while Paul focussed on F3 and thus pipped him to the title. But Paul is unlucky to be out of F1 in 2014 – he should be there on merit, perhaps instead of who he beat in 2013 – Sutil.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 22nd February 2014, 8:02

      I like him. Despite his apparent ineptitude to win races (at least in GP2) he always posted solid results. Wish him the best.

      • We have ‘pay-drivers’ and now we clearly have ( the next best thing in Nasr’s case)
        ‘pay-test drivers’….
        His ineptitude to win races in other formulas clearly doesn’t qualify him to take valuable testing time away from the likes of Massa and Bottas… Unless there’s financial backing and contract stipulations involved.

  2. vinicius.jlantunes (@vinicius-jlantunes) said on 22nd February 2014, 2:48

    I’m very happy for Nasr. I hope that this year he can finally win in GP2 and have another good run for the championship. That way an eventual move to F1 will be justified.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 22nd February 2014, 8:20

      That’s great fro him, but I don’t see him driving for Williams before 2016. I think Bottas and Massa will be there until 2016 at least and he could be placed in another team until Massa is out.

    • Indeed, but I have a feeling he will be given preparation with Williams, like Bottas, and be groomed to be Massa’s eventual replacement. Perhaps he will get a full year of FP1s in 2015, like Bottas in 2012?

  3. What a surprise! It’s not like I had predicted it 2 days ago…

  4. andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd February 2014, 6:42

    No surprise, but happy nonetheless: Nasr did really well last year in GP2 (despite no wins), and Williams could certainly use the Banco do Brasil money..

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 22nd February 2014, 11:34

      @andae23 – True but Banco do Brasil was never Nasr’s main sponsor. OGX, the same firm that sponsored Bruno Senna, made up the vast majority of Nasr’s budget, or at least until the firm recently filed for bankruptcy and withdrew their sponsorship. Had that not happened, I have no doubt that he would of replaced Chilton (the delay in announcing Max speaks volumes). Still, he’s shown that he has the kind of mentality that will do well in the new era of F1, and like Frijns and Vandoorne, I think he is in with a very good chance of a seat next year.

  5. Klaas (@klaas) said on 22nd February 2014, 7:32

    it’s an honour to join names such as [Nelson] Piquet, [Ayrton] Senna and [Felipe] Massa

    ha ha, no mentions for poor Barichello.

  6. hzh (@hzh00) said on 22nd February 2014, 8:23

    well… that’s a good looking car…

  7. claudioff (@claudioff) said on 22nd February 2014, 10:00

    So far Williams has secured two of three biggest Brazilian Companies, Petrobras and Banco do Brasil. These, plus Martini should guarantee a good flow of money for them.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 22nd February 2014, 12:16

      It’s looking promising on the financial side for Williams despite the loss of Maldonado thus PDVSA. It’s refreshing to see with the financial problems some of F1’s teams have been having.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 24th February 2014, 8:41

        I don’t think they ‘lost’ PDVSA. Williams had a contract with Maldonaldo and they had to buy him out of it.

        Given the original contract was for between 30 & 40 million a year, I’d imagine that even if they took 20-30% of it, the drivers are going to get paid and there’s a chunk left over for development.

    • DavidS (@davids) said on 22nd February 2014, 14:13

      I hope they do a retro livery based on late 80s and early 90s cars. Banco de Brasil can occupy the top of the engine cover where Camel was. Petrobras could very easily occupy the side pod with a white background.

  8. Albert said on 22nd February 2014, 13:24

    I hope that the Banco do Brasil’s yellow doesn’t ruin the Martini livery…

  9. So what does this mean for Susie Wolff?

  10. Nasr is the only hope Brazil has in terms of continuation in the sport. He has been preparing himself for this chance, and if Williams manage to give him a good car in his few appearances, he will sure be able to show his skills. He is fast.

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