Williams to launch in Bahrain on January 7

The BMW Williams team is to have its team launch next year in Bahrain in the first week of January. The car will be launched at the end of January at the more conventional venue of Valencia in Spain. The idea of launching in Bahrain is presumably designed to help boost F1 profile in the Middle East, a target market for many F1 sponsors while at the same time being halfway to Australia, which will allow for more coverage of the team's activities in the Antipodes. The team will be led in 2005 by Australian Mark Webber who enjoys a relatively low profile in his country where the V8 Supercar Championship stars are much better known, in the same way as NASCAR stars are household names in the United States.

The identity of the team's second driver is yet to be established but Antonio Pizzonia remains the favourite to get the drive. The team is also looking for a new test driver, although there are many who believe that with the new restrictions on the number of car-days of testing in 2005 the teams will not need test drivers.

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