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Zanardi and Schumacher Jr. at Williams

WILLIAMS GRAND PRIX ENGINEERING will announce this week that it has signed Alex Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher to be its drivers for the next two years. Zanardi comes to F1 having won the last two CART titles in the United States. He is a good catch for Formula 1 racing as it aims to return to America in the year 2000. With Zanardi and Jacques Villeneuve both racing in F1 the series will be able to go to America with names which will be recognized by US race fans, rather than big international stars who are unknown inside America.

The 1999 season is unlikely to be an easy one for Williams as the team is going into its last year with Renault-based engines and these have not been very competitive this year and are likely to be even less successful in 1999. Williams will begin a new engine partnership with BMW in the year 2000 and Zanardi and Schumacher will be heavily involved in the development of the Munich company's V10s.

The announcement means that the only major drive still available next year is with Sauber, although there is a second seat at the new British American Racing and both Minardi drives are still up for grabs. If Pedro Diniz moves to BAR there may be an Arrows drive available alongside Mika Salo.

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