SEPTEMBER 6, 2005
Antonio Pizzonia to get another chance?
A week ago Antonio Pizzonia was rather keen to get out his Williams contract and get on with his racing career. Frustrated that the team picked Nick Heidfeld this year (as a sop to BMW) Pizzonia has sat around all year waiting for the deal to end and with Williams giving tests to Nico Rosberg, Pizzonia seemed to be on his way to a new career in the United States. But then came Monza. Nick Heidfeld had had a crash in testing the previous week but reckoned that he was healthy enough drive. That was not the case and on Saturday morning Heidfeld pulled out. Pizzonia jumped in and did a brilliant job to score points for the team on Sunday afternoon. If he had been a little more prepared "Pizzaman" thinks he would have done even better and would have scored more.
With only a few days between Monza and Spa and Heidfeld suffering from concussion and torn neck muscles, it is logical that Pizzonia will be in the car again in Belgium. A year Pizzonia was standing in for Ralf Schumacher and did a fine job at Spa, outrunning Juan Pablo Montoya and on his way to a podium finish when his gearbox failed. Another good showing like that will put Pizzonia back into the frame in F1 gossip circles where sometimes his name is overlooked. Williams must soon decide whether to extend Heidfeld's option to stay with the team next year, in order to cover the possibility that Jenson Button may not join Mark Webber next year, but the team may now conclude that Pizzonia might be a better bet. The problem is that Antonio wants to race and if Williams is full up he must look elsewhere. The question that must therefore be answered is whether or not Button will be at Williams in 2006. Nothing much has happened on that front because no-one has yet forced the issue but it seems a good moment now for Williams to get things moving so that the team will know what to do about Heidfeld and Pizzonia. Asking Button to confirm he is available to test for Williams after the season is over would probably do the trick. Button would have to respond in the negative if he wishes to stay at BAR next year and then legal steps would follow.
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