DECEMBER 6, 1999
...so what will Williams do?
WITH Olivier Panis having decided to join McLaren, Williams is looking for another driver to replace Alex Zanardi. Although both the Italian and the team are going through the motions saying that the relationship will continue, our sources say that they are actually in the process of negotiating a settlement over the contract rather than talking constructively about the future.
We believe that the team has a short list of three or four possible drivers. This is believed to include Brazilian Bruno Junqueira who drives for the Petrobras Junior Team in Formula 3000. This operation which is run by David Sears has acted as an unofficial Williams junior team in the last year with Sir Frank Williams's son Jonathan being involved in the management of the operation. Another driver believed to be under consideration is Britain's Darren Manning who has tested for the Petrobras Junior Team in recent weeks. Another man who is considered to be an outside chance for the drive is Denmark's Tom Kristensen who has been driving for the Williams-run BMW sportscar team in recent years. There might even be a chance for a Frenchman Jean-Christophe Boullion, a longtime Williams test driver.
Last week there were rumors that Benetton's Alexander Wurz might be a candidate for a drive but these do not seem to have any foundation at all.
In the meantime there is little indication as to what Alessandro Zanardi is going to do in the future. He told a magazine recently that he has no intention of going back to the United States, saying it would be "like running back to Mamma". It is possible that he could move to another Formula 1 team but there are not many attractive options available.
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