Williams put faith in Webber for revival

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The Independent Online

More parts of the 2005 Formula One jigsaw fell into place yesterday as Renault and BMW-Williams confirmed their driver line-ups. As expected, Giancarlo Fisichella will leave Sauber-Petronas to race for Renault as Jarno Trulli's replacement, and Mark Webber will quit Jaguar to fill one of the vacant seats at BMW-Williams, where both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher are departing (respectively to McLaren and Toyota).

More parts of the 2005 Formula One jigsaw fell into place yesterday as Renault and BMW-Williams confirmed their driver line-ups. As expected, Giancarlo Fisichella will leave Sauber-Petronas to race for Renault as Jarno Trulli's replacement, and Mark Webber will quit Jaguar to fill one of the vacant seats at BMW-Williams, where both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher are departing (respectively to McLaren and Toyota).

A fortnight ago, Fisichella and Webber could have changed directions, with the Italian going to Williams and the Australian to Renault. Webber is managed by Flavio Briatore's company, but Renault's team principal decided it made better commercial sense to split his drivers (the other is Renault's Fernando Alonso) rather than place them together.

Renault's president, Patrick Faure, strongly denied that they paid Peter Sauber to release Fisichella from a two-year contract that only enabled him to join Williams, McLaren or Ferrari. "Renault did not pay anything to Giancarlo's current employers. They accepted the Renault option without any difficulties," Faure said. Fisichella returns to the team he last drove for in 2001, then called Benetton.

Asked why Trulli, the only one other than Michael Schumacher to have won a Grand Prix in 2004, was dropped, Faure added: "We weighed up all the options, and went into a lot of detail, looking at lap times in the races, in qualifying and many other factors. We have evaluated a lot of different opinions within the team."

Britain's Anthony Davidson remains a candidate for the second Williams seat.

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