Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg have finally been confirmed as the new Williams F1 drivers for 2010.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been on another planet for the last couple of months that the most experienced man in Formula 1 will be joining his sixth team after four years with the Honda/Brawn team. This gives him an opportunity to become the first driver to compete in over 300 races.
Hülkenberg—the current GP2 champion—has been involved with the Williams team from 2007, lapping quicker than the largely useless Kazuki Nakajima, and coming close to Nico Rosberg’s time in his first tests in F1.
Those results secured him a test drive for Williams in 2008, and subsequently 2009, as a shambolic year by Nakajima which saw him fail to win a single championship point. This paved the way for Hülkenberg to secure his first race seat in F1.
Nakajima’s teammate Nico Rosberg is believed to be heading to Brawn to partner world champion Jenson Button in a straight swap with Barrichello.
Frank Williams has a very good blend of experience and young talent in his team, with Hülkenberg tipped to be a future F1 world champion by a number of pundits after becoming champion of the Formula BMW Germany in 2005, A1 Grand Prix Series champion in 2006-07, Formula Three Euroseries champion in 2008, and now GP2 Series champion in 2009, with his manager Wili Weber comparing him to a young Michael Schumacher.
No pressure Nico.
If Cosworth can provide a quick, reliable engine to Williams for 2010. They have the drivers with the raw pace to mix it with Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, and Brawn. Even if Barrichello remains in F1 for just one more year, the benefits he can bring to the team, and Hülkenberg, are immense.