At the official launch of the new Williams BMW FW27 at Valencia, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team announced that Nick Heidfeld will partner Mark Webber in 2005. For Nick it will be his first season as a BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver. Over the course of his Formula One career he has already contested 84 Grands Prix for Prost, Sauber and Jordan.
"It wasn't an easy decision for us to make, and there was little to choose between the two of them, and we were in the fortunate position to be able to choose between two drivers who would be a credit to any Formula One team. Ultimately, however, it is Nick who has got our vote, but I am delighted that we have strength in depth with Antonio taking up the position of official test and reserve driver", commented BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal, Frank Williams. "It was a very close call."
Nick Heidfeld said, "I really wanted this job. Driving for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is the greatest opportunity of my career. I will do everything I can to show that I deserve this place and I'm counting the days to the first Grand Prix. 'Racing' against Antonio was a lot of fun. He's a great team-mate. I respect him and I would also have taken on the job of test driver."
Antonio Pizzonia will support the team's efforts as official test and reserve driver in 2005.
"I'm a racing driver and naturally I would rather be racing in all the Grands Prix. But in the past I have also learnt how important test work is for the success of the team as a whole. I also know as official reserve driver that you have to be ready to step into a race seat at any time. Although it is not the decision I wanted, I'm pleased to be part of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in 2005 and will give my best to help the team's performance this year", he said.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented, "All three drivers were very strong in the most recent tests - not only behind the wheel but also when working together with the engineers. The new team has grown together quickly and harmoniously. I'm very pleased for Nick. He earned the seat with his strong performance. Antonio knows that, as a test driver, he is also taking on a key role in the team."