Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Who's next for Williams? // Alex Wurz may be on the way out of Formula One

Published by Christine

Alex Wurz

Rumours about Wurz's lack of future in Formula 1 have been circulating since he gained the race seat at Williams at the beginning of the year. He started off well, but it's been going downhill since then, and it's not really a surprise that he wants to call it a day. This season was definitely make or break for him, his first full racing season for over five years, and with a podium in Canada, you'd think it wasn't so bad. But he's had many poor finishes, spins, retirements and frustrations, been outclassed by team mate Rosberg, and with a new baby this year, his family commitments are probably weighing on his mind a little more.

It is slightly odd that he revealed he would retire at the end of the year, and then gave up with one race to go, but Williams seem utterly prepared for this, with their driver already lined up for Brazil and due to be announced tomorrow. Who will it be? Place your bets now.

The obvious answer is Franck Montagny. He's the Toyota test driver, they have links with Williams, he's so good looking... oh, alright, I won't even bother.

Kazuki Nakajima

The actual obvious answer is Kazuki Nakajima. He's the current Williams test driver, he knows the car inside out and engine supplier Toyota are keen to see if he can cut it on a Sunday afternoon. The problem is, although there's only one race left this season it's a very important one. Red Bull have been snapping at the heels of Williams for some time now, and with the gap down to just four points, the team from Grove can't afford to relax for a second.

The Fernando Alonso predicament is holding up the driver market but let's speculate that Alonso will go back to Renault next year. The safe money would be on Fisichella getting the axe, but would Flavio want to put a young Kovalainen at the mercy of Fernando's mind games?

To further confuse, there are rumours that Nelson Piquet Jr has a guaranteed drive next year, so Briatore would need to pay him off, or send him somewhere else - maybe Williams. A subsidised Piquet would be a cheap option for the purely independent (and therefore poor) team.

Adrian Sutil

An option I would be intrigued to see is if Adrian Sutil was given the opportunity. Okay, it's only a Williams, but it's still a step up on the F1 ladder. He's shown real flashes of brilliance so far this year, and looks like he's going to be a top class driver. He is obviously contracted with Spyker at the moment, but they've never seemed to be that fussy about drivers, and giving Winklehock another go couldn't hurt them.

The other option which I don't even want to contemplate is Ralf. He's committed to leaving Toyota, and although still designated to race in Brazil, they'd barely notice if he left one race early (they have a perfectly good test driver who could fill in!). It almost looked like he was saying Goodbye to the team after his early exit from the last race. He also has experience of racing for Frank Williams.

But, like I said, this all depends on Alonso. He can't say anything about his future because he's got a contract with McLaren and Ron can't fire him without coughing up some cash. So, who's going to break first and will tomorrow's decision tell us anything more?