Jenson Button - the 19-year-old British Formula 3 driver - has emerged as a possible contender for the seat alongside Ralf Schumacher at WilliamsF1. When asked about the possibility at the launch of the BMW WilliamsF1 team, Gerhard Berger of BMW...
Jenson Button - the 19-year-old British Formula 3 driver - has emerged as a possible contender for the seat alongside Ralf Schumacher at WilliamsF1. When asked about the possibility at the launch of the BMW WilliamsF1 team, Gerhard Berger of BMW said "actually I like this idea a lot. I have met his guy and he is full of spirit. He has quite good results from the past and I have no problems with the idea of signing him. We have a very strong number one driver for this year in Ralf and so why should we not take a risk with the second one?".
Frank Williams also leant his support to the idea, "It's quite a risk. [Button] says he's definitely ready for F1, and many people say he's exceptional. One of the reasons personally why I want to make this test happen is because like a lot of people in the pitlane in 1991, we felt idiots when Eddie Jordan turned up with Michael Schumacher.
"We'd all been sleeping and he was wide awake, and I don't intend that to happen again. For the sake of a test, it may be a waste of time, but he may be a great driver. The purpose of the test is to see if he's got it."
On the subject of Alex Zanardi himself, Berger said "Alex is still under contract and is talking with us, but he was very unhappy with last year's car and he wants to know why", whilst Frank said "We're still in discussion with Alex - in the meantime we will run and test two young drivers at Jerez. The future is youth and we like to take a risk once in a while as it can pay enormous dividends."
Button himself, in a separate interview, said "I spoke to the Williams team last week, but we only talked about my future in general. There was nothing specific said about whether I would be driving for them in Australia in March. I have talked to several teams as well, including Prost and Stewart, so I am still thinking about what I am going to do this season."
The Williams team was launched with sponsorship from BMW, Veltins, Nortel, Andersen Consulting, Castrol, Petrobras and Reuters. Compaq is still expected to come on board as the major sponsor when the FW22 is launched in Barcelona at the end of January. Of the new car, Geoff Willis said "[it is] completely new everywhere inside and outside"
Zanardi under discussion
Details are starting to come through about the Zanardi situation at BMW WilliamsF1. At the launch, Frank Williams said he was still "in discussions" with Zanardi.
Webber to test Arrows
Mark Webber is to test the Arrows tomorrow and Thursday at Silverstone. Jos Verstappen, however, is still favourite for the drive with the team. Of the test, Webber said "It's great to be invited back by Arrows. The first test at Barcelona was a phenomenal experience and a real eye- opener. As I said at the time, a Formula One car is so precise, with so much power. It was 10 times everything I'd done previously. Now that I've been acquainted first-hand with a Formula One car it will be good to get back in and have another go. The way the weather is in England at this time of year there's every chance it will be wet, so it could be really interesting!"
BAR-Honda completes 3 day test
The British American Racing team completed it's 3 day test at Barcelona without too many dramas. Of the test, Takefumi Hosaka of Honda said "The purpose of this test was to gather basic data for new technical developments and make progress in performance level. I am very sorry we took a long time to solve the minor trouble we encountered on the second day, but in the end we have managed to gather much of the information we required. For the next test in Jerez we will hope to push forward with the new technology based on the new data we have found here.".
The teams next major test, however, will be in South Africa at Kyalami. "We're looking forward to having the opportunity of testing the car in very high temperatures there and learning lessons that should be valuable to us in the first two races of the year, in Australia and Brazil."
-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk