Williams confirmed on November 7th that Kazuki Nakajima will race alongside Nico Rosberg in 2008. Nakajima, a graduate of Toyota's driver programme, has been test driver for Williams this year and was often behind the wheel during Friday practice...
Williams confirmed on November 7th that Kazuki Nakajima will race alongside Nico Rosberg in 2008. Nakajima, a graduate of Toyota's driver programme, has been test driver for Williams this year and was often behind the wheel during Friday practice sessions of race weekends. He competed in his first race for the team at the season finale in Brazil and finished 10th.
"This is the crowning of a great year for me," Nakajima said in a statement from Williams. "It was an amazing experience to drive out of the garage as a Formula One driver at Albert Park last March, and now to be confirmed as a race driver for AT&T Williams is a dream come true."
"I am very grateful to Toyota for the support I have had through the Toyota Driver's Programme and to Williams for the team's faith in me. There is plenty of work to be done before next season starts, but I am resolved to do whatever is necessary and to show Williams and Toyota that they have made a good investment."
Speculation has been rife about driver line-ups for next season since Fernando Alonso and McLaren parted company and Rosberg was one name linked with the Woking seat. But Williams always insisted that he would stay and 2008 will be his third season with squad, which describes him as "the mainstay of the team's continued drive towards the front of the field."
Rosberg ended this season ninth overall in the drivers' standings and his best finish was fourth in Brazil. "I am delighted to confirm that Nico will be racing for the team for his third consecutive year after demonstrating impressive and widely applauded form in 2007," said principal Frank Williams.
"Nico will be ably partnered by Kazuki, who has impressed the team over the past year. He has pace and the right aptitude to develop into a competitive Formula One racer and over the course of the next season, we will provide him with all the necessary support and assistance to hone his talents."
With Rosberg's future confirmed, speculation about the McLaren vacancy seems to have shifted to Renault's Heikki Kovalainen. Rumour has it that a major investor is ready to support Alonso's return to Renault if the team will put tester Nelson A. Piquet in the second race seat, which would free up Kovalainen. As usual, we'll just have to wait and see.