WilliamsF1 today confirmed that João Paulo de Oliveira will test for the team on Friday 3 February at the Valencia circuit, Spain.
Brazilian Oliveira has spent the past two seasons contesting the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, behind the wheel of the Toyota-powered TOM’s car, in which he won last year’s Drivers’ title. Out of a total of 33 races, entered between 2004 and 2005, the 23-year-old has claimed victory 11 times from 14 pole positions, and achieved 25 top ten finishes.
Oliveira started his motorsport career in 1998, with entries in Formula Ford and Formula Chevrolet-Opel, prior to competing in the South American F3 series for two seasons, claiming Championship honours in the B-class in ’99 and in the A-class in 2000. A further two seasons of German F3 followed, in which Oliveira took the silverware in convincing fashion with 13 victories out of a total of 16 races in 2003.
With such a proven pedigree, Oliveira will make his Formula One debut with the WilliamsF1 Team in Valencia tomorrow. The Brazilian will experience 20 laps of the Spanish track in the interim FW27C chassis and will conclude the team’s week long test programme following the launch of the FW28 last week.
Oliveira is one of a long list of Brazilian drivers that has been brought to the team’s attention by major sponsor and fuel supplier, Petrobras. Previously, Max Wilson, Bruno Junqueira, Jaime Melo, Ricardo Sperafico, Antonio Pizzonia and Nelsinho Piquet have all been offered the opportunity to test one of the team’s race cars.
Of his debut, Oliveira commented, “I am delighted that Williams have invited me to drive their car. To be driving a Formula One car is a life long ambition and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity. I hope that I can also provide the team with some valuable feedback as they prepare for the season ahead.”
Prior to Oliveira’s first outing, Frank Williams, Team Principal of the WilliamsF1 Team, said, “We have closely followed João Paulo’s career to date and it would appear to be an entirely appropriate time to offer him his first F1 test. We’re looking forward to seeing how he responds to the challenge.”