Jerez, Friday: Recent revelations from the Jerez test have revealed that Williams rookie Nico Hulkenberg did next to no running during the recent pre-season sessions, his place being taken by an anonymous PR worker for the team.
The reigning GP2 champion, who is making the step up to Formula One this year, chose to spend his days at the Spanish circuit posting updates to his Twitter page while a substitute clocked up the test mileage for the team, a source confirmed.
“Initially we were hoping that Nico would be able to update his status while out on the track,” our source told us, “but it turns out that though it’s compatible with just about everything, we couldn’t get TweetDeck to work on his steering wheel.
“It was then decided that communicating with the fans in 140 characters or less is a much more important job for a driver than testing and developing the car, so Nico was excused from his testing duties to carry on Tweeting throughout the week. His place was taken by a PR worker.”
Wearing Hulkenberg’s helmet and overalls, the unidentified tester performed admirably for the team, setting the ninth-fastest lap time of the week. Reports from Serbia suggest that Stefan GP have already approached Williams for the mystery driver’s identity, hoping to offer him a contract for their non-existent F1 team. However, our source insisted that the true identity of the driver would remain a closely guarded secret.
Meanwhile, the usual chorus of ex-drivers have chimed in to bemoan the changes at Williams: “This is a team that previously existed only to race,” former world champion Jackie Stewart said. “Now they’re focused on keeping fans happy, even at the expense of other drivers on the test circuit. This sort of travesty would never have happened while Bernie was ali….no, I’ve said too much.”