Webber confirms move to Williams for 2005 28 Jul 2004
Australian ace Mark Webber has officially announced that he will be joining the Williams team next season, leaving Jaguar Racing after two years.
"The deal I have agreed with Williams today is really the most significant milestone in my career to date, and I have great expectations of what we can achieve together," Webber said in the announcement, "Of course I am focussed on my job with Jaguar racing for the remainder of this season, but I cannot wait to take up my position with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team for next year. Besides having an amazing history of success, the team has a reputation for a no-nonsense and straightforward approach to racing, which suits me just fine."
Both of Williams' current race drivers have already announced their plans to leave the team at the end of the season - Juan Pablo Montoya to McLaren and Ralf Schumacher to Toyota. This means that the second Williams seat for next year remains open and Webber's team-mate is yet to be confirmed.
Williams team principal Frank Williams said of his new signing:
"Mark is self-evidently a highly talented driver, but his tenacity, determination and motivation are also qualities we prize at Williams F1. As a team, we have traditionally prospered with drivers who have a down-to-earth, let's get on with it attitude. Mark is certainly in that mould, and I am delighted he has agreed to join the team for 2005."
Webber's move will have come as a disappointment to Jaguar Racing, which had hoped to retain his services, but David Pitchforth, the team's managing director, was quick to pay tribute:
"We have all learned an incredible amount over these two seasons as Mark has grown as a driver while our racing package has developed to challenge for points. Mark has now reached a stage where he needs to continue this progress and pursue race wins. We understand his decision and respect it."
"During the past two years I have had the pleasure to work with some amazingly talented people from whom I have been inspired and motivated," added Webber, "Formula One is a very, very tough environment in which to work and to do well in. But the camaraderie amongst the team and the efforts that the boys - both at the Jaguar Racing factory and at the track - go to is very, very special and I'd like to thank them for all their hard work."