Team boss Frank Williams expects to announce his driver line up for 2006 fairly soon, to confirm who will be teammate to Mark Webber next season. Nick Heidfeld is moving to the new BMW squad and Williams test drivers Antonio Pizzonia and Nico ...
Team boss Frank Williams expects to announce his driver line up for 2006 fairly soon, to confirm who will be teammate to Mark Webber next season. Nick Heidfeld is moving to the new BMW squad and Williams test drivers Antonio Pizzonia and Nico Rosberg are favourites to replace the German. Or it could be somebody else.
"Mark Webber will be the team's first confirmed driver for next year," Williams told the BBC. "Antonio Pizzonia and Nico Rosberg are the other two drivers with whom the team has retained contractual relationship. We will confirm our full driver line-up in the not-too-distant future."
Jenson Button's wrangles with BAR and Williams have been well documented this season and last. First the Englishman wanted to leave BAR at the end of 2004 in favour of Williams, but couldn't, then this season he decided he wanted to stay with BAR despite a contract with Williams. He got his way but while Williams was disappointed, it's not the end of the world.
"I hold Jenson's ability in high regard and had hoped he would race for us but I regard the outcome pragmatically," he remarked. "Ultimately, a financial settlement was a poor second choice, but the only practical resolution to the situation."
It's a period of change for Williams this winter; the team's long-term partnership with engine supplier BMW comes to an end and the Grove squad will be Cosworth powered in 2006. Williams will also make the switch to Bridgestone tyres after five years with Michelin.
"Much is changing at Williams, but it will be a much-needed catalyst to return the team to winning form," said Sir Frank. "As I see it, the most significant change is something that all teams will have to face and that is the change to V8 technology, the most fundamental change to the technical side of the sport in 16 years."
"I believe that Cosworth, our engine suppliers for next season, are possibly the best placed company as acknowledged global experts in V8 technology, to take best advantage of this change. So after 27 years of Williams adapting to change and competitive challenges, I am actually very optimistic about next year."