FEBRUARY 2, 1998
Williams names second test driver
FRANK WILLIAMS has named Brazilian rising star Max Wilson as his team's second test driver. Wilson will work alongside Columbian Juan-Pablo Montoya doing development work for Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. As part of the deal Williams will run with sponsorship from Petrobras, Brazil's state petrol company which is estimated to be worth around $12bn.
Wilson is 26 but has only been racing in Europe for two years, doing an impressive job last season in his first year in Formula 3000. Although he failed to win a race he finished fifth in the European title race.
At the launch of the new Williams FW20, the team revealed its full sponsorship package and announced that it is to develop merchandising operations with the Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.
The team continues to work towards its planned partnership with BMW with the news that BMW Motorsport is to be relocated at a new factory opposite Williams Grand Prix Engineering in Grove. While the new headquarters is being built work on the BMW GT sportscar continues to be done at the old Williams factory in Didcot.
The new Williams FW20 ran for 16 laps after its launch at Silverstone but serious testing did not start until the weekend when the Williams test team began work in Barcelona. As expected, the new car follows the design philosophy of the FW19, taking into account the new regulations. It is the work of the team's chief designer Gavin Fisher and chief aerodynamicist Geoff Willis, the pair under the technical direction of Patrick Head.
At the unveiling of the new car in the Silverstone pit garages, Jacques Villeneuve was in a confident frame of mind, reckoning that his biggest rival for the World Championship in 1998 will be his own Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
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