DECEMBER 10, 2007
Rosberg at Williams until the end of 2009
Nico Rosberg has signed a new contract with Williams F1, thus ending all speculation that he will move to rival McLaren in 2008. The 22-year-old German had a contract until the end of next year with a Williams option beyond that, if the team performed to a certain level. In an effort to head off McLaren advances for Nico in 2008 and 2009 Williams has offered Rosberg a solid deal for 2009 and this was sufficiently attractive for Nico to agree to stay. McLaren thus has one fewer candidates for its second drive and it now seems that the team will promote from within with either Pedro de la Rosa or Gary Paffett joining Lewis Hamilton. This would avoid disruptive competition between the drivers.
It is still possible that Renault's Heikki Kovalainen might move to Woking but that really depends on whether not Fernanco Alonso agrees to race for Renault. Kovalainen could stay where he is but that would mean that Nelson Piquet Jr would not have a drive - and we believe he has a contract which promises a race drive.
Our sources at Red Bull Racing say that Alonso is definitely not going there and Honda is not thought likely as that would involve paying Rubens Barrichello $10m and Alonso $30m and the team is not ready for him in 2008 and it would be wiser to use the money to improve the cars rather than spend it on a driver who would not have the equipment to win. Such a move would eend up with the team taking the blame. Toyota says it is not in the discussions but no-one seems to believe that, while Williams is definitely out of the equation now that it has re-signed Rosberg. Renault may be Fernando's only choice - but if that is the case then Flavio Briatore is likely to be working to squeeze down Alonso's financial demands.