NOVEMBER 6, 2007
Williams to announce Nakajima
It is expected that Williams will announce soon that Nico Rosberg will be joined in the team by Kazuki Nakajima. The Japanese youngster made his debut with the team in Brazil and did a decent job, despite knocking down some of his pit crew during one of his stops. He set the fifth fastest lap of the race and, perhaps more importantly, he did a string of laps at around the same times which made a big impression at Grove. There are some who feel that Nakajima would benefit from another year in GP2 in order to mature some more.
There are probably other implications of such a deal. In 2007 Williams was paying Toyota for its engines but hiring Nakajima might reverse the flow of the money and end up with Toyota contributing to Williams. It is also an important strategic move as Williams is now closely aligned with Toyota.
The team has been testing with Formula 3 racer Sam Bird in recent weeks at the Kemble aerodrome in Gloucestershire. Bird was driving one of the current FW29 cars up and down the runways at Kemble doing aerodynamic mapping work. The 20-year-old made his first impression in Formula BMW in 2005 when he finished runner-up in the championship with Fortec Motorsport. He then moved up to British Formula Renault and finished fourth in 2006 and then moved straight into F3 this year with Carlin and finished fourth in the championship.
The youngster is backed by BP, a company which has concentrated its efforts in rallying in recent years but has enjoyed close links with Williams over the years thanks to its Castrol subsidiary although this deal lapsed at the end of last season. Since then, however, the management at BP has changed and it is always possible that the firm will review its sponsorship strategies as it has not only the BP brand but also Castrol, Arco, Aral and am/pm convenience stores.