Christijan Albers and Williams

Minardi driver Christijan Albers is one man who is going to be severely affected by the purchase of Minardi by Red Bull. This means that the only pay-drives available in the future will be with the Midland F1 team and there are no signs that this is going to be any more serious in 2006 than it has been this year and thus a drive there might not be a very good investment. Albers and others, such as Robert Doornbos, Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro are thus looking around for other opportunities and test drives seem to offer the best chance there is to break into F1 because teams place so much emphasis these days on time spent in the cars.

Most of the major F1 teams have one or even two test drivers on the books and so the youngsters have been looking to Williams, which is expected to have at least one seat available next year. It is expected that Mark Webber will be joined in the race team by Nico Rosberg but it is not yet clear whether Antonio Pizzonia will be happy to sit around and wait any longer as he will have been twice passed over for a race drive: firstly by Nick Heidfeld and, if it is confirmed, by Rosberg. It is anticipated that Pizzonia will head off to the United States where he has a good chance to make a decent career.

That means that Williams will need a test driver and the word is that Christijan Albers is high on the list. The Dutchman is now 26 and made his F1 debut this year after four years in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz. Given that he was out of single-seater racing for such a long time, his performances this year have been quite impressive, indicating that the 1999 German Formula 3 Champion has lost none of his pace.

The word is that Williams is talking.

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