Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 18, 2000

I decided to go with Junqueira - Head

BMW-WILLIAMS technical director Patrick Head has said the rookie of the year Jenson Button almost missed out on a Formula One drive - because he had wanted Bruno Junqueira as the team's second driver at the start of the year.

Brazilian Junqueira and Briton Button went head-to-head in specially arranged tests at Jerez and Barcelona in January in a bid to replace Alex Zanardi as Ralf Schumacher's partner for the 2000 season.

But Head admitted that he and team-boss Frank Williams had all but decided to hand Junqueira, who was the team's test driver in 1999, his chance in Formula One only for Button to dazzle them with his ability.

"I'd pretty much decided we should have Junqueira because we were already familiar with him and the engineers had a high regard for his technical understanding," Head said.

"But then Jenson did a test for us at Jerez that suddenly made the decision very difficult. We then went to Barcelona and he used a left-foot braking set-up for the first time - it wasn't something he'd done before.

"And instantly, on a track he'd never seen before, he was very quick and in the end we had to go for him."