Paffett extends McLaren test contract

2012 F1 season

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Gary Paffett, McLaren, Valencia, 2011

McLaren has announced Gary Paffett will remain the team’s test and reserve driver in 2012.

Paffett has been with the team since 2005.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "Gary has become a vital part of our technical support and development team – both at the track and in the simulator.

"Both Gary and the team believes that this deal will underline his reputation as a strong development driver and a true team player."

Last month Paffett signed a long-term deal to continue racing for Mercedes in the DTM.

Read more: 2012 F1 drivers and teams

Image © Julien Leroy /

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Paffett extends McLaren test contract”

  1. “Last month Paffett signed a long-term deal to continue racing for Mercedes in the DTM.”

    Wonder how this affects his chance of a Virgin drive next season?

    1. Where did you hear about rumours of a Virgin drive? He would do well to stay in DTM, it’s a great sport!

  2. Just criminal this guy’s not had a race seat yet – first I’ve heard of the Virgin drive but anything would do.

    Not undermining his test role but if you’ve seen the guy dicing in DTM you’ll know it’s a such a waste of talent having him welded to the simulator!

    There wasn’t much separating him and Di Resta and I think it’s pretty obvious Paul’s got what it takes.

    1. I was only going with a hunch with the new Virgin/McLaren tech partnership. I think it helped with Di Resta get his foot in the door at Force India along with Merc support.

  3. I always through he deserved a chance in F1. Think the Prodrive team missing out on F1 was his best chance taken away from him. Looks like he has settled for reserve/test driver and DTM now. That’s not exactly a bad career but I woul have liked to have seen what he could do across a full season of racing in an F1 car.

    1. Think the Prodrive team missing out on F1 was his best chance taken away from him.

      I just read some hours ago on Wikipedia that Richards (Prodrive boss) would have probably signed de la Rosa and di Grassi. But certainly that was his best chance.

    2. I totally agree, the Prodrive seat looked certain to introduce Gary to full-time F1 driving. But I don’t think he has settled as a reserve /test driver. he has to remain competitive and he is keeping his options open while racing in a great series and keeping his hand in with F1 too.
      It’s only a matter of time before we get to see Gary’s full talent displayed in F1 – he’s a lot better than quite a few drivers currently on the F1 circus right now.
      With a bit of luck . . . .you never know the Virgin/ McLaren set-up might just give him a window he’s been so patiently waiting for . . .

      1. It would be very nice, but unlikely.

      2. he’s a lot better than quite a few drivers currently on the F1 circus right now.

        Are you quite sure? Don’t you get the idea that he might have actually had a drive if that was completely true?

        1. cos the 2 at HRT are amazing arent they?

          Someone as simple as klien is not only better on paper, but in reality too.

          yet he has no drive. same goes for davidson. no drive.

          so just cos they arent in it. doesnt mean they arent better/or worse for that matter.

  4. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride.

    I do hope we get to see Paffett race in F1 at some point in his career.

    1. Maybe to replace one of the regular drivers on a one off race.

  5. Have Gary Paffett ever raced in F1? I think no!

  6. The guy’s 30 for god sake, not old by most peoples standards, but 30 and never having a race in F1, I think it’s to late for him, most F1 drivers are in their 20s or younger when they first get in. Looks like its DTM or another formula for him I’m afraid. As I’ve said on crash he seems to be signed to keep him from other teams, I can’t see any other reason.

    1. I refer you to one Damon Hill who did not race a Formula One car until he was 32. Circumstances then lead to him winning the WDC. Who’s to say the same won’t happen for Gary Paffett…?

      I know it’s very unlikely, i’m just saying, stranger thing’s have happened!

      1. damn straight. F1 hasnt changed that much for it not to happen again. it would only not happen again if team bosses believed its not possible for someone to come in at that age. and therefore didnt give them a chance.

        There is no other reason. 30 is not old by any means.

  7. Bigbaddaboom
    6th July 2011, 9:02

    Sensible move for Gary, he keeps a decent drive for DTM and stays testing for one of the most influential teams on the grid. After PDR’s lack of pace at montreal I think Paffets chances of getting a chance to race are pretty good.

  8. Rock n' Roll Shaman
    7th July 2011, 22:24

    Thought they meant Rick Parfitt from Status Quo……….

  9. Hi gang. Does anyone here know what the $$$ value of Paffet’s DTM contract is worth? Even a close guess? Thx.

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