Williams to test Piquet and Rosberg at Jerez 27 Nov 2003
Nelson Piquet Jr and Nico Rosberg will test for Williams at Jerez next week, it has been announced. Their fathers, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg, were Formula One world champions with the team in and 1987 and 1982 respectively.
The two young drivers will join Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gene for the session, which will run from Tuesday December 2 to Thursday December 4. Piquet will test the FW25 on the Tuesday and the morning of the Thursday, while Rosberg will run on the Wednesday and the afternoon of the Thursday.
Rosberg and Piquet were selected for the one-off test roles as part of the team's ongoing commitment to developing emerging talent. "We are testing with the young drivers to evaluate their ability in an F1 car and whether or not they could assist with our testing programme in the future," said Williams Chief Operations Engineer, Sam Michael.
"They have been working with us over the last couple of months to ensure they are well prepared for the test and it's clear already that both are quite mature in their approach," he added.
The December test will be the first Formula One outing for Piquet. The young Brazilian has impressed many industry commentators, particularly this year while racing in the British F3 Championship for family-run team, PiquetSports. He finished his first season in the series in a respectable third position with six victories and nine pole positions.
2003 also saw Piquet contest the Zandvoort Malboro Masters. In his first attempt, he finished in second place. Prior to his debut season in British F3, he won a number of Kart championships, as well as winning last year's South American F3 Championship. He took the title in dominant style, with an impressive 13 victories from 18 starts, 16 of which were from pole position.
The test will not be the first Formula One experience for 18-year old Rosberg, however, who was first invited to test the Williams FW24 last December as a reward for his outstanding performance in the Formula BMW ADAC Championship, in which he secured nine victories out of 20, enough to claim the title.
At only 17 years old, the German was the youngest driver ever to take part in a Formula One test session. Despite his youth, however, Rosberg left a lasting impression on the team and managed to set a personal best time of 1:21.070 round the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Since his initial test, Rosberg has spent the 2003 season racing for Team Rosberg in the Formula 3 Euro Series. By the end of the season, he had claimed one race win and finished the year in eighth place in the championship.
Keke Rosberg, Nico's Finnish father, raced for Williams from 1982 to 1985, winning all five of his career victories with the team and claiming his sole drivers' title in the Williams-Ford in his first season.
Nelson Piquet Snr is another motor racing legend who drove a Williams-Honda in 1986 and 1987. In just two years with the team, Piquet claimed seven grand prix wins and a drivers' title. Piquet's achievements that year also helped the team secure their third constructors' championship.