McLaren has extended the contract of its test and reserve driver Gary Paffett to include the 2012 season.

8545 - Paffett extends McLaren deal

Paffett has been in the role since 2005, having been driving in DTM from 2003. He continued to compete in 2005 and won the DTM title, before missing the 2006 championship to be the full-time McLaren test driver. At the end of 2006 he was released by McLaren, but re-signed a few weeks later and returned to DTM in 2007, combining the two roles ever since. A McLaren press release stated that Paffett would be able to continue driving in the series as part of the new deal.

"I'm extremely pleased to have renewed my relationship with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes," Paffett said. "As everybody knows, success in Formula 1 is developed through the strength and duration of relationships: I've been a part of this team for more than five years, and it's a place where I really feel happy and comfortable, and where I can confidently speak my mind.

"I'm proud that my contribution has enabled the team to remain a race- and championship-winning force in Formula 1, and I truly believe that we'll continue to grow and improve in the future."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh praised the work that Paffett does in developing McLaren's cars.

"Gary has become a vital part of our technical support and development team - both at the track and in the simulator," Whitmarsh said. "Both Gary and the team believes that this deal will underline his reputation as a strong development driver and a true team player."