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Williams confirms Pizzonia

The WilliamsF1 Team has confirmed that Antonio Pizzonia will race for the team at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa this weekend, replacing Nick Heidfeld.

Test driver Pizzonia stepped into Heidfeld's shoes last weekend in Monza, after the German declared himself unfit to race after Friday practice because of problems following a testing accident on August 26.

"Our first priority is prudence in relation to Nick's condition," said team boss Frank Williams. "Although the broad view is that he may well be ready to race by Friday, the back-to-back calendar at this time does not allow the luxury of more time to reach this conclusion, so it is best both for Nick, and indeed the team if we make a clear and early decision that Antonio will race this weekend. In addition to allowing Nick more time to recover, we can nominate Antonio now and he can benefit on Saturday in Belgium with a good starting position for qualifying from the strong seventh place finish he secured in Monza."

It is worth noting that an announcement is expected shortly that Heidfeld has signed a deal to drive for BMW in 2007 and 2008. Williams has an option on his services in 2006 but that runs out on September 15 and if Williams does not take up the option (and it has Mark Webber and Jenson Button under contract to race in 2006) Heidfeld may end up with a three-year BMW deal. If that happens, it is logical to speculate that Williams may decide not to take Nick back this year as he will be unable to play a very active role in development work for the future if he is moving to a rival team.