DRIVER MARKET: Williams to wait until after Abu Dhabi to confirm 2020 line-up
George Russell is already signed up for a second season at Williams in 2020, but the identity of his team mate has yet to be formally confirmed. Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams says we’ll have to wait until the end of the year before we find out who it is…
Alfa Romeo completed one of the few remaining pieces of the 2020 driver line-up jigsaw earlier this week with confirmation Antonio Giovinazzi would be staying on alongside Kimi Raikkonen for a second season.
That just leaves one Red Bull and two Toro Rosso seats – set to be split between Alexander Albon, Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly – and a seat at Williams, which is being vacated by one-time race winner Robert Kubica.
Nico Hulkenberg had previously been linked with a move to the team, with which he made his debut, but it has emerged that is highly improbable.
We won’t be making our driver announcement for that second seat for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi this year
The frontrunner is Nicholas Latifi, Williams’ reserve driver who is set to secure a high enough finish in this year’s Formula 2 championship to secure a super licence (he's currently second) that permits him taking up the role should it be offered.
The Canadian has completed a series of first practice session outings for Williams this year, including at the last two events in Mexico and the USA, and will be in the car again before the season is out.
Speaking about the team’s plan for their driver announcement, in the context of Latifi driving the car recently, Williams said: “The plan was always to have Nicholas Latifi in the car for these practice sessions that you’re seeing him in, in the next couple of races and in Mexico as well. It’s no clear indication.
“We’ve made it very clear in the media that we won’t be making our driver announcement for that second seat for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi this year.”
Williams are currently last in the constructors’ championship, having scored just a solitary point courtesy of Kubica in Germany.