Latest F1 Silly Season rundown
See our 2010 F1 Silly Season Page linked above. Williams will announce its 2010 Formula One driver lineup on Monday, increasing the expectation that Rubens Barrichello will be lured across from Brawn GP.
Team principal Frank Williams confirmed the near-term announcement just hours after Barrichello spoke glowingly about the opportunity to join Williams, while stopping short of confirming his move.
“We will announce our drivers for next season on Monday,” Williams said in Gulf News.
Barrichello was widely expected to be joined at Williams by 22-year-old German Nico Hulkenberg, who currently drives in GP2.
Nico Rosberg confirmed Thursday that this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his last with the team, with Williams saying he was bound for one of the Mercedes-powered teams next year, either McLaren or Brawn.
“Nico is German and Mercedes need at least one German driver to sit before their engine.”
The Williams team also confirmed it will use Cosworth engines next season, replacing Toyota power. Cosworth provided engines for Williams when it won its first constructors championship in 1980.
The 2010 driver market was the main source of conversation around the Abu Dhabi paddock.
In another development ahead of Friday’s opening practice session, Kimi Raikkonen said he had narrowed down his F1 options for 2010 to his old team McLaren, while a switch to rallying or a year’s sabbatical also remained options.
Toyota had been chasing Raikkonen, but the Finn said he never considered a move there as he ponders his future following his ousting from Ferrari to accommodate Fernando Alonso.
“Toyota has not even been discussed,” Raikkonen told Finnish television station MTV3 on Thursday.
“If I want to drive (F1) cars, then McLaren is the only option. I should know the situation in the next few days.”
Toyota’s driver options for next season were rapidly thinning out. Robert Kubica had also spurned the team’s advances and moved to Renault. Timo Glock said Friday he was likely to leave the team and Jarno Trulli is also expected to depart.
Glock, who is sitting out this weekend’s race due to a back injury, said Friday he is yet to sign a deal with a new team. There had been recent speculation linking Glock to Renault.
The German had a 2010 option with Toyota, but the team was yet to commit due to its pursuit of other drivers and uncertainty over next season’s budget, pending a decision by the parent company.
“Toyota can’t make a decision before Nov. 15, so that is the main reason why it doesn’t look like I can drive for Toyota again,” Glock said. “There are various teams I have good contacts through, and where we are in a good position for next year.”