JANUARY 28, 2004
Pizzonia and Williams
As we have been suggesting for some time, it seems that Antonio Pizzonia will shortly be named as BMW Williams's second test driver for 2004. The Brazilian driver was back with Williams at Valencia on Wednesday and it is anticipated that he will be confirmed in a permanent role with the team later this week or next week.
Pizzonia first tested for Williams back in 1999 when he just won the British Formula Renault title. He then had a period when he was involved with Benetton but no deal was agreed and towards the end of 2001 he signed a long-term deal with Williams and became the Williams test driver in 2002. This was a great success and his speed drew him to the attention of Jaguar Racing, which signed him for 2003. Before he arrived however there was a coup d'etat in the team and the new management did not seem to share the views of the previous bosses. Things began to wrong and in the midseason Pizzonia was dropped. His replacement Justin Wilson did no better than Pizzonia had done.
Antonio returned to Williams in the autumn with a one-off test but his speed impressed the team and now it seems he is on the verge of starting to rebuild his damaged career. At 23 Pizzonia is still amongst the youngest drivers involved in F1 at the moment although Zsolt Baumgartner, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Christian Klien are now younger.
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