Williams confirm Rosberg and Nakajima for 2008

2008 F1 season

Kazuki Nakajima, Montreal, Williams-Toyota, 2007 | LAT Photographic / Glenn DunbarWilliams has announced that Kazuki Nakajima will race for the team in 2008 following his debut for the team at Interlagos last month.

The team also confirmed Nico Rosberg will remain at the team for next year, ending speculation that he might take Fernando Alonso’s place at McLaren or move to Toyota.

Nakajima was the highest placed rookie in this year’s GP2 standings, but failed to win a race all year.

The team praised his race performance in the Brazilian Grand Prix in which he made several overtaking moves, but he qualified poorly and hit his pit crew during the race.

Press release:

NAKAJIMA JOINS ROSBERG IN 2008 DRIVER LINE-UP

Oxford, UK. November 7, 2007. The AT&T Williams team confirmed today that their driver line up for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship would be Nico Rosberg partnered by Kazuki Nakajima.After two seasons of racing for AT&T Williams, Rosberg is an established and highlyregarded talent and he will form the mainstay of the team?s continued drive towards the front of the field.

He is joined by Kazuki Nakajima, the 22-year old from Aichi in Japan,who for the past year has been the team?s official test and reserve driver. Kazuki, the GP2 Series Rookie of the Year, has been a member of the Toyota Driver?s Programme since 2003 when he claimed the Formula Toyota Championship. More recently, Kazuki has contested the All Japan Formula 3 Championship and the Formula 3 Euroseries.

Over the course of the 2007 season, Kazuki has covered over 7,000km for the AT&T Williams team as a test driver, as well as representing the team at Grands Prix as a driver in the Friday practice sessions. He closed the season with a capable Formula One debut, racing for the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

On confirming the team?s 2008 race line-up, Frank Williams, the AT&T Williams Team Principal said, ??I am delighted to confirm that Nico will be racing for the team for his third consecutive year after demonstrating impressive and widely applauded form in 2007. Nico will be ably partnered by Kazuki, who has impressed the team over the past year. He has pace and the right aptitude to develop into a competitive Formula One racer and over the course of the next season, we will provide him with all the necessary support and assistance to hone his talents.??

For his part, Kazuki said on the news of his appointment, ??This is the crowning of a great year for me. It was an amazing experience to drive out of the garage as a Formula One driver at Albert Park last March, and now to be confirmed as a race driver or AT&T Williams is a dream come true. I am very grateful to Toyota for the support I have had through the Toyota Driver?s Programme and to Williams for the team?s faith in me. There is plenty of work to be done before next season starts, but I am resolved to do whatever is necessary and to show Williams and Toyota that they have made a good investment.??

Photo: LAT Photographic / Glenn Dunbar

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Photo: LAT Photographic / Glenn Dunbar

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13 comments on Williams confirm Rosberg and Nakajima for 2008

  1. I am not that sure that they ended the McLaren speculation … What they did for sure is they placed higher price tag on Rosberg and made it clear they are determined to keep him.

    The McLaren speculations will likely only end after the McLaren announces their line up. It does however looks much less likely Rosberg will leave. One of the options for Liuzzi to stay in F1 seems to be gone and of the possible destinations for Alonso seems to be out question…

  2. I’m not at all surprised by this announcement. Williams wanted to keep Rosberg, and they know what Nakajima can do.

    It seems that one of Luizzi’s options has now closed. It’s a shame really, because he is a good driver, he just needs abit of guidance. I mean all this harping on about Speed and Vettel and Luizzi beat them both, and somehow he still doesn’t have a drive.

    And it will be harder for him to get a seat with the likes of Timo Glock, Mike Conway, Adam Carroll, Andreas Zuber and Nelson Piquet Jr looking to get into Formula One.

    The oldies of F1 will probably last til 2008, and that will be it. Even Coulthard, no matter how good he is driving now, he will struggle to resist the pressure from the young guns.

  3. Hmm, I was hoping for Alonso to go to Williams and help them out a bit!

    Though as is said above, this isn’t necessarily 100% the finalised Williams line-up – things can always change if the price is right.

  4. Journeyer said on 7th November 2007, 11:52

    Somehow, I don’t think Frank will backtrack on this one… unless of course Alonso goes to Williams in Rosberg’s place (which is a long shot at this point) – and that’s assuming Frank’s even interested in him and his attitude problems.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2007, 12:03

    Interestingly, Williams will have two sons of F1 drivers as their line-up, just as they had with Hill and Villeneuve in 1996.

  6. Journeyer said on 7th November 2007, 12:44

    Ah yes, true! It was funny, I was thinking a few months ago that Nelsinho Piquet could’ve ended up at Williams instead of Renault (if they do Alonso-Kovi). If that happened, it would’ve marked a first: the first time two F1 teammates had fathers who were also F1 teammates (Piquet & Nakajima at Lotus from 1988-1989).

  7. Rosberg and Nakajima at Williams, Alonso almost certainly back with Renault and Piquet as his team mate – it seems things are returning to the natural order and all is right with the world again. Fizzy’s out of course and Kovalainen just better hope that McLaren want him…

  8. oliver said on 7th November 2007, 18:05

    Seems Fisichella is unlikely to have a drive next year. See the reason why drivers should have an ambition and not be willing to assume the number two role. Is he going to get any reward for his loyalty?

    Lets face it, he is unlikely to be world champion anytime soon, and age is also not on his side. The same goes for several other drivers on the grid. Lets leave sentiments aside for a moment, I cannot understand what Coulthard is still doin in F1, Barichello is also unlikely to be a champion, and the fires that burn in them are dimming.

    These old drivers that have missed their boats might as well make room for younger and more energetic talents.

  9. It has happened in the past that various drivers went past their best racing years – working hard for lower placed or not as reliable/fast cars – jim clark ,graham hill – my era!! – and coultard and barrichelo – may not be in the first flush of youth – but would it be a better grid without them?? – maybe this should be the last hurrah for them both and maybe a safe retirement too – we’ll see.

  10. AmericanTifosi said on 8th November 2007, 1:49

    I don’t get why Nakajima got a seat. I suspect some of the Williams mechanics aren’t too thrilled about that.

  11. why he got the seat ?

    a) he did not do bad at all in Brazil (OK, he hit some mechanics but they are stll alive :-) ). and check his results from Shanghai Friday practice no 1, 9th time …

    b) he is Toyota guy, so likely there is also some sort of a sweetener from Toyota side re their supply of engines to Williams

    c) he is Japanese and that is an attractive territory for a team to have some extra support to come from …

    d) He is a rookie, but so was Nico Rosberg 2 years ago … And Williams does not operate with piles of cash like McLaren, Ferrari, Honda, Toyota, and can’t exactly pay for expensive drivers …

    Sure, he may not be the best of the drivers out there aiming to land the Williams or any other race seat, but his appointment does make sense

  12. Williams are one team, whose integrity and passion for racing is never in doubt. They gave Rosberg the opportunity and he has flourished. All credit to Sir Frank and Patrick. However, they should have tried to snare Alonso, despite of whatever is/was being said about him. All that, did not make him any slower, or, a bad driver. Bitter, but, not a bad driver. Also, how many really do believe, that Macca had nothing to do with the proceedings (monaco, spy saga, hungary and other such incidents).

    As for Nakajima, well, he is quick(well he certainly has a difficulty coming to a stop, doesn’t he?). Jokes apart, he is quick. Erratic, but well all rookies are, why ask Lewis(LOL). Well, lets hope he proves Sir Frank and Patrick right.

    As for Rosberg, go Nico, he could easily ensure (given a competitive car), that many highly rated drivers, eat a humble pie.

    Go team WILLY!!!

  13. I read a while back that Williams are in quite a bit of debt? If that’s true, they haven’t really got the kind of money to throw around to try to get Alonso, so someone like Nakajima is probably a good bet as he doesn’t command a huge price tag.

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