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Williams opt for mixture of innocence and experience
Williams opt for mixture of innocence and experience
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Nov 2009   |  3:49 pm GMT  |  76 comments

Williams has announced the expected 2010 line up of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg. It is a team they have had in mind for some time.

Hulkenberg represents raw youthful pace, but crucially he has shown this season that he is also capable of shaping that into an all-round racing ability. He looks like a driver who will improve himself into the real thing and he is well managed by Willi Weber, Michael Schumacher’s manager.
Hulkenberg has been on Williams’ books for two seasons and this year delivered his target of winning the GP2 championship, while Barrichello brings a blend of hunger, huge experience and a technical ability which is second to none in F1. Next season he will go through the 300 Grands Prix barrier.

The deal with Barrichello was done a couple of months ago and neither side seems to have had any doubts about it. The team always had it in mind to run Hulkenberg, provided he hit his targets.
The pair will drive Williams Cosworths next season. The technical team at Williams, which Patrick Head believes is approaching the level to produce the kind of work Williams came up with in its glory days, believes that the Cosworth will be a competitive engine, albeit possibly quite high on fuel consumption, which is a penalty with no refueling next year.

But as a new engine, the technical team at Cosworth are allowed to continue developing the engine until March 1 next year, which gives them a lot of time to improve the product. Existing F1 engines are frozen.

Although reliability is unproven and there is no track testing allowed, the team at Cosworth has been supplemented recently by many engineers returning from other engine programmes, such as Mercedes’ in Brixworth. Head believes that this makes Cosworth the right option, but I still believe that there is some kind of wider business reason for this which may become clear down the line.

“Rubens needs no introduction,”said Sir Frank Williams. “He is not only the most experienced driver in Formula 1, but a passionate and talented driver who fought hard for the drivers’ championship this year.

“Nico Hulkenberg won the GP2 Championship this season as a rookie and has previously won the F3 Euro Series, Formula Masters, A1 GP and Formula BMW Germany.”

After a long association with Nico Rosberg, the team felt that both sides needed a change of air. Rosberg frustrated the team at the start of the year, failing to capitalize on a fast car, then went on a spree of strong results, but dropped the ball badly in Singapore when a podium was there for the taking.

Rosberg is expected to end up working with Mercedes, probably at the Brawn team next season. Kazuki Nakajima had a reasonable season in 2008, but this year has failed to impress in what was a faster car. Team insiders say that despite huge efforts on his side, at the end of the day, he is a couple of tenths of a second per lap off being an F1 driver.

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James! Please please please change your web hosting provider. Every time something interesting happens in F1 your web site goes down because it can’t copy with the traffic!


Hmm, good to see Rubens is staying. I find it quite an odd choice to go to Williams. I know its been a long time now, but many Brazilians still blame Williams for being negligent and contributing to Senna’s death. But then again, I read an article in The Guardian I believe that stated that a lot of Brazilian fans don’t rate Rubens and want him to retire.

Either way, should be good to see Nico, against the their new Japanese young gun next year 🙂


For those of you who know about Indy/CART in the 1990s mention of the pushrod engine will bring back memories.

For those who do not know, Ilmor developed a pushrod V8 turbo engine to exploit a loophole in the INDY 500 regulations. It ran for just one race before it was banned but it won the Indy 500 for Penske.


Talk about dja vu. How long ago was it that we were all being told how strong the Williams/Cosworth car would be only for it to be a disaster? That was after a strong showing, second in the WCC was it or was that the year before?

Then BMW decided to go it alone. It makes you wonder if they would still be in the sport if they had stayed as a supplier. It certainly would have been the cheaper option. I know one bloke who was adamant that they’d regret the decision but modesty forbids me saying who that was. They promised so much in the early BMW years, pushing Ferrari at times.

Now that Head has been back in the team full time things have improved, albeit from a pretty low level. Even so I can’t help but think they will struggle with the Cosworth engine.

But Williams have gone their own way with regards to drivers, refusing to pay what many drivers felt was their worth. It has cost them. Despite how well Rosberg did this season, at times anyway, we still have no idea what the car might have done in the hands of a driver whom Williams, in a fit of generosity, paid more than basic wages for.

I’ve got a lot of time for RB. If the speed is there then he should be able to show it.


@Harvey8 – Please refer to my response to Stephen on Williams-Cosworth 2006 season. The debacle was not Cosworth’s doing theirs was the only engine (apart from Renault) that had not reliabilty issues. Williams cars retired in 2006 in promising promising due to reliability issues in other areas. I guess the Williams were so very dependent on BMW in many of these areas, that they had not yet settled after the recent divorce.

Cosworth would have continued in F1 if there were more privateers buying from them. With newly acquired STR and Midland/Spyker/FIF1 moving to Ferrari engines Cosworth had no takers in grid.


I don’t think you can separate the engine from its plumbing. The engine supplier delivers a package which includes it ancillaries. Didn’t the Cossie generate a bit more heat than most. I seem to remember Head complaining of the size of radiators and therefore intakes they had to design in. I know it is one of the problems all teams have to solve but the Cossie was, I believe, rather demanding in that sector.

My understanding was that it was the constant rule changes that put paid to the Cosworth involvement. Wasn’t that the essence of their statement at the time of their withdrawal? Indeed, at times it seemed to me that it was almost as if the rule maker(s) wanted to eliminate all but the major manufacturers. How times changed.

It remains to be seen whether Cossie can come up with the goods. If, as you seem to be suggesting, the rules are bent in their favour then anything goes of course.

My point was not that the Cossie was unreliable but that the Williams Cosworth was unreliable. They went from second or third in the table to the also rans, eighth or ninth.

All teams struggle with new engines. It is a major modification of the car. Probably the most important one. And the most expensive, don’t forget. That was McLaren’s main complaint regarding the constant changes of engine spec that Mosley enjoyed indulging in.

Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari are moving into 2010 with their package more or less the same apart from a bigger tank. They can spend their hard-earned on other matters.

Williams are starting almost from scratch. They seem to be diversifying as well. In the past, few teams have found this a way to guarantee success on the track.

I’m a big fan of Williams. They are, after all, in the hands of Head and Williams, the senior team in the pitlane. It would be nice to see them competing as they did with the BMW engine. I wouldn’t bet on it though.


James: sorry, an update. It is actually that the address of the feedburner feed has changed. It used to be and it is now

For anyone who – like me – has an RSS reader looking at the old link, it will seem as though the RSS feed has simply stopped. I’ve had to subscribe anew to the new feed.

Perhaps you ought to put out a note on this?


James: I’m sure you know that your twitter box has vanished from the site; I’m not sure if you kow that your Feedburner feed isn’t working now, either – it hasn’t been updated in a while.


Yes we are looking into Feedburner issue. Twitter box has been unstable. Thanks.


I think it´s a great lineup for Williams, for Rubens its also a good move and also for Nico its a great place to start.

But i have to say that i don´t see Williams at the front of the pack next year, it will be hard for them even if cosworth gives them a good engine.


no doubts about rubens commitment? i just wonder, after his comments earlier in the year when he started having doubts (the 5%), and having just come so close but missed his best shot of WDC, whether he has the motivation and fight to do it all again. it’s a long winter.

i agree on heidfeld, i’ve read positive comments from haug and whitmarsh on him, and i’m sure it would certainly please mercedes and germany if it happened, and i think he’d be a cracking no.2 to hamilton, with massive experience, proven fighter (silverstone last year?) yet always brings the car home (excepting sutil being an idiot), and in value for money is leagues ahead of kimi (i think they were fairly evenly matched team-mates actually at sauber?). i’m at a bit of a loss actually as to why kubica was headhunted and heidfeld is chasing drives, when he has been the equal of the highly rated (fair enough in my opinion) kubica.


Unless there’s some journo-insider info the rest of us mere mortals aren’t privy to, I don’t think you could justifiably assert that Rosberg frustrated the team at the start of the year (though, oh, what a ball to drop in Singapore). I know that was your interpretation of Michael’s ‘inconsistent lap times’ statement after the Barcelona race, but it seems they did eventually “look carefully through all of the data and bodywork parts to determine what caused that,” as Rod Nelson attributed it to a tyre problem (if I recall the cause correctly) in their eventual technical round-up – though that didn’t stop your blog post from making the rounds! The team had freely admitted just one race ago that Williams’ underperformance at that stage was largely due to pitstop errors and bad strategic calls. Not that I put much store by Sir Frank’s media spins, but there were various Williams statements banging on about how they wanted to keep him, and (according to the German media anyway) while Patrick did say it was good for Nico’s development to move on, he prefaced it with ‘it was never our motive.’ I don’t know if you could fairly say the team felt *both* sides needed a change of air.

Having said that, I think it’s true that both sides needed change of some sort anyway – I’ve always thought that Williams suffered running with two relative youngsters (not that they could do much about poor Kaz) and Barrichello should be perfect for them.

(As a parting shot: thanks for your coverage this season, I’ve enjoyed your blog a lot – even though you’ve fueled a fair amount of Nico-bashing this year! 😉


Not Nico bashing at all. I’ve been balanced and given him a lot of credit where it is due.


Oh, no, I didn’t mean *you* were Nico-bashing – please don’t think I’m having a go! It was just a tangential reference to the way your views have been…variously interpreted around the internet; your innocuous “Rosberg Feels he was Cheated of First Victory” post alone generated much discussion over his IQ, for example. But none of that has anything to do with you, I was just trying to express (badly, in retrospect) that despite my frustration over certain things, I’ve really enjoyed your blog.


Uh, none of those engines use push-rods…


Frank and Patrick prefer their sponsors and suppliers to bring as little baggage as possible to the team. I think that is why they resisted full on tobacco sponsorship for so long (until it became the only way they could pay for Senna), and perhaps that is why they opted for Cosworth engines in the end.


Hi James

On a side note. What are the chances of McLaren actually using Kers next season. I know they have fallen inline with the other teams agreeing not to run the system. But McLaren dont exactly have a good record in regard to integrity (Spy Gate). All fair in love and racing and kers is such an advantage for them.



Could Williams-Cosworth in 2010 be the Brawn’s of this year and surprise everyone and fly stright out of the blocks? God I hope so!

Cosworth having the ability to continue their engine development until March. It could happen. Great driver pairing as well.

On a side note I hope Redbull remain competitive next season. It’s a shame McLaren are blocking their path to Mercedes.


I agree. Hiedfekd is overlooked all the time. If you want someone who can finish races he’s your man. He went something like 45 races without retiring


Williams’ driver line-up sounds promising. I just hope cosworth produces a decent thing.

They seemed to get stuck in the mud this year.

I really expected Nico’s 1st win and a few podiums this year. Quick out of the box, Nico’s fastest lap in Melbourne, then they were swamped by everybody else. End up 7th with one driver scoring all the points.

Looking forward to seeing Team Willy back at the front.


James, a silly question. If Mercedes-Benz do buy Brawn, who has the rights to the current McLaren colour and paint treatment?


That Color/Paint scheme was only thing worth mentioning that McLaren did in Winter after 2005 season. Remember 2006 😕 Brilliant looking and dud performing car


If you mean ‘silver’ then the answer is no one. If you mean the actual livery design of the car then the team owns it. Copyright.




I look forward to the rebirth of Williams, this just could be the stimulus required, in my view


Williams off the track lately have been impressing me in many ways. I am an avid fan of Formula 1, not just the racing and the technological side of the sport but also the infrastructure that each team has in place, from the factories to the “motor homes” that are based in the paddock. The team seems to be pulling the strings and deciding where their business heads for the future for the first time in many years. They have always been pushed into decisions, mainly by BMW and Toyota so that it would represent their brand in the best light. Now the team are wholly making their own decisions and recently announced that it will open the research and development Williams Technology Centre in Qatar. They have also openly said that they will carry on the development of the KERS system as well as change to cosworth engines which would allow greater freedom in how they develop their own brand awareness.

The announcement of Barrichello and Hulkenberg has also been a well thought out process of bringing together a driver with a wealth of experience that would help bring along the raw talent that is Nico Hulkenberg. Barrichello for this season has been helping Jenson win the title by pretty much setting up the car for him and then allowing him to claim the title, but by Barrichello transfering his knowledge and helping to develop the young german can only produce good results and id be very interested how much the Williams package develops over the season.

Another thing that has impressed me about the German is his willingness to not only be with the team that has supported him for the past few years but also that he has wanted to develop his engineering knowledge within the sport by working at the factory to help develop and produce the car that he’ll be racing. This can only be to set an engineering base so that when the car goes wrong or doesnt perform 100% he knows why and what he can do to correct the problem. This would be especially important not just in races but also in testing whereas now it is vitally important to develop the car without losing time now that testing has again been reduced.

My last point about this appointment is the suprise of Barrichello and hearing that it is not a recent decision, but that the contract was signed some months ago. Id be very interested to know when he decided to moved teams, perhaps after “Barcelona-gate” and things havnt been the same since, which could have been why he decided not to allow Jenson access to his setup data as he knew he had nothing to lose and was last chance to win the World Championship before he moved to a midfield team.


The Williams flywheel KERS system will not race in F1. It is for commercial use only now


Seems like a strong lineup that they have put together. Rosberg was always going to move on and I am sure that it will be confirmed that he will be at Brawn in the coming weeks.

Seems odd that at the time that Rubens blamed the team when he had his rant Frank Williams was being interviewed by the BBC team in the F1 forum following the race. He described the rant as a red card offence and now he has signed him. I am sure that it will work out but the unknown is the engine and that could be crucial.

Lets hope that Nico Hulkenberg proves his talent in F1.



A very smart move by Williams. Not only have they got two drivers who will push the team forwards, they have also been able to get at lower salaries I suspect. I read somewhere that NR was being paid in the region of $8 to 9 million and Rubens’ package at Brawn was $1 million. Obviously, Rubens will get a pay hike, as the low figure at Brawn was a result of small budget, and now that he has peformed so well in the championship. Maybe Williams can manage both the drivers between $2.5 to 3 million and that will free-up a few of millions for the development of the car. Every penny counts.


Great news that we’ll see Rubens on the grid again next year.

But what’s the story with Heidfeld? Why does he not capture anyone’s attention with all the talk of German drivers in German engined teams? Correct me if I’m wrong but he’s beaten Kubica this year in a straight and open fight.

What’s the pit lane view of Heidfeld James?


Heidfeld is the only guy before Vettel who pushed Webber in F1… he’s got to be rated highly…


Solid performer. If I were McLaren I would have him alongside Hamilton in a heartbeat


As would I, Cheaper and alot more team and PR friendly I hope Mclaren are considering Quick Nick he’ll bring alot of technical knowledge to the team and will be a superb rear gunner should he need to forefill that role. However although hes an upgrade to Kovalainen he hasn’t won a race and was completely outscored in 2008 when the car was a title challenger so there are still question marks as to ‘if’ Nick can score big points when Lewis can’t.


I agree there are a few question marks, but they almost don’t matter when you have a driver as solid as Lewis.

A driver like Heidfeld is what makes a team Constructor’s Champion without threatening the golden boy too much.

Surely Heidfeld is a no brainer for McLaren so I’m still at a loss as to why they’d want Kimi, Jenson or Nico first.


Williams have a strong pairing there. We all know about Rubens, but Hülkenberg is the one driver from the junior formulae who has prepared for F1 in the best possible way, probably thanks to Willi Weber. Already his CV looks very impressive.


After the way Montoya fell out with Williams I worry about the latin emotional side from Rubens. And what about the brakes? As I recall Rubens is very brake sensitive and with such limited winter testing I hope Williams can get this right for him.

Roll on the Williams Flywheel KERS powering all the teams sometime in the future though – that’s a very exciting thought.

Would love to see some comment / speculation on tyres from 2011 what with Bridgestone deciding not to renew. With Mosley gone and a Frenchman in charge at the FIA will Michelin come back? or Goodyear? or a tyre war without testing (could be interesting!)


A smart move from Williams. Not only they get two drivers which can push the team forwards, I am guessing they won’t cost that much as well. I read somewhere NR was being paid about $9 million and Rubens’ pay at Brawn was $1 million. I am sure Rubens will get a pay hike but still I think Williams will be should be able to manage both driver under $ 4 to 5 million. Every penny counts and the extra money can be pumped into the development of the car.


First deal done and dusted… which will be the next domino to fall james? Surely Rosberg – Brawn now?? Also, what is going on with Kimi?


They are getting there slowly but not done yet

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