Williams promotion for inaugural GP2 champion
Nico Rosberg, son of former champion Keke, will be on the grid next season with Williams, the team that brought his father the 1982 drivers title. Rosberg, who won the GP2 series this year, was confirmed as Mark Webbers 2006 team mate on Thursday.
Rosberg, 20, has signed a long-term contract with Williams, which the team say reflects the commitment of both parties. Their relationship began in 2002 when Rosberg made his test debut with the them, aged just 17, making him the youngest man to drive a Formula One car. He has been an official Williams test driver since April.
For quite a few years, I kept a number of options open, such as continuing my education, but this announcement is the validation after ten years of racing that I have chosen the right direction, said Rosberg.
Winning the GP2 title this season, especially given the competition, was a satisfying achievement, but of course this development is the crowning glory of a great year. I am really looking forward to starting work at the end of this month and learning as much from the team as I possibly can.
Rosberg will commence his new duties with Williams with the start of their winter test programme, which begins on Tuesday, November 29, with the debut run of the teams V8 Cosworth engine in Barcelona, and team boss Frank Williams is eager to get his new race driver back to work.
I believe I am one of many in Formula One who is genuinely excited about the prospect of Nico Rosberg, he said. Given the attention he commands, I am delighted he has signed with us for next season.
Rosbergs signing means disappointment for Williams other test driver Antonio Pizzonia, who had been hopeful of a race seat after narrowly missing out this year to Nick Heidfeld. However, he failed to make his mark in five Grand Prix appearances when the German was injured late in the season.
Williams said they had chosen Rosberg not just for his racecraft, but also his depth of technical understanding (he was accepted to read for an engineering degree at Imperial College, London, prior to committing to a motorsport career) and his sporting pedigree outside racing, having proved himself highly capable in sports such as football, snow boarding, jet-skiing and tennis.
Despite his youth, Rosberg already has a wealth of race experience thanks to the early start to his career. In fact he has recorded more race starts at the age of 20 than his father made in his entire career.