Williams today have announced their 2010 driver line-up, the team unsurprisingly opting for current test driver Nico Hulkenberg and Brawn refugee Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian driver finished the 2009 season in third while team mate Jenson Button took the championship, and Nico Hulkenberg took his first GP2 title.
The announcement comes after Williams decided to end their partnership with Toyota and instead go with Cosworth engines for next year. This means that the team are no longer pressured into having a Japanese driver in their line-up.
The news that Barrichello has found employment after an up-and-down year with Brawn means the Brazilian race winner will again extend his record of most races contested. The partnership with rookie Hulkenberg should also prove to be interesting, Nico having taken the GP2 title in dominant fashion.
While the pairing appears strong, much of next year will come down to how well Williams can develop their car over the winter. In 2009, the FW31 showed flashes of brilliance in the hands of Nico Rosberg, but all too often the performance faded in the race. With the unknown Cosworth engine, Williams could be on the verge of a great comeback, or another season of mid-field anonymity.
Nico Rosberg is highly expected to be announced as a Brawn driver in the coming days/weeks, although the team are likely to be wanting to announce both drivers together, the negotiations with Button apparently taking a little longer than perhaps they would like. As for Kazuki Nakajima, the Japanese driver had a woeful 2009 campaign which saw no points. Although Nakajima has at times shown real promise in the Williams, there are plenty of other hopefuls desperate to prove themselves in Formula One.
This post was written on a PS3, and therefore kinda tricky (even with the keyboard hooked up). My apologies in advance if it isn’t up to the usual standard. I’ll be back online (properly) at the weekend, I hope.