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Williams to keep Pizzonia and Heidfeld 07 Jan 2005

Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams gets a birthday cake at the Williams Team shoot.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 11 September 2004 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams FW26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 1 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams BMW FW26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 1 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams BMW FW26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 8 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

Williams have revealed that both Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld will be contracted to the team for 2005, regardless of which of them ultimately gets the race seat alongside Mark Webber.

Pizzonia and Heidfeld will both participate in further test sessions with the team before a final decision on the race drive is announced at the official launch of the new Williams FW27 car at Valencia in Spain on January 31.

However, neither driver will be out of a job as the team has confirmed that whoever misses out on the full-time drive will be kept on as Williams’ test and reserve driver for the coming season.

It is a role Pizzonia is already familiar with, having filled it in 2004. The Brazilian got to compete in four grands prix following Ralf Schumacher’s Indianapolis accident. Prior to joining Williams he made 11 Formula One starts with Jaguar, with Webber as his team mate, before being dropped by the team midway through the 2003 season.

"For sure, I want to race in 2005,” said Pizzonia at the launch of Williams’ 2005 livery in Bahrain this week. “The evaluation at the tests is fine, tough competition is just a natural part of Formula One. This month is going to become the most important of my career. If I don't get the second race seat, I will give the team every support to win races again as a test driver."

Heidfeld is the far more experienced driver, with a total of 84 grand prix appearances. He made his Formula One debut with Prost in 2000, before switching to Sauber, with whom he scored his first podium result at the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix. The German then raced for Jordan last season, before making his Williams test debut in November.

“I am very happy to be part of the team,” he said. “Fighting for the second race seat is the biggest chance I have ever had in my career. Whether at a test or in the factory, being with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is a complete change to what I'm used to. I am impressed by the professionalism, the resources and the determination of the crew. I had a warm welcome and felt immediately at home."