Frank Williams said: "We are happy this is behind us and things have turned out in our favour. We look forward to an ever improving career for David Coulthard." However, he would not reveal whether Coulthard or Nigel Mansell, who replaced the Scot in theWilliams team for the last three grands prix of last season, would be partnering Damon Hill next year.
A final decision on the line-up does not have to be made until a few days before the opening race of next season. It is possible that Coulthard's future will remain undecided until then.
The 23-year-old, who replaced Ayrton Senna at Williams this year, said after the ruling: "All I have sought is a fair agreement and a good environment in which to perform to the best of my ability."
McLaren, meanwhile, registered their disappointment at the decision. "We find the contract recognition board's decision disappointing, but of course we will respect its findings," the team said in a statement. "However, as a result of this process, at least David is free to choose whom he will drive for in 1996 and beyond."
If Williams now take up their option on Coulthard next season it would mean Mansell, in the twilight of his career at 41, having to find alternative employment. He has again this week been linked with Ferrari.Reuse content