x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Williams pin their hopes on the talented Rosberg

Frank Williams hopes that despite his team's failure to give Nico Rosberg a race-winning car, the talented German driver will choose to stay on next year.

Williams hope to convince Nico Rosberg, above during the British Grand Prix, to stay with them next season.
Williams hope to convince Nico Rosberg, above during the British Grand Prix, to stay with them next season.

Frank Williams hopes that despite his team's failure to give Nico Rosberg a race-winning car, the talented German driver will choose to stay on next year. Rosberg has been with the team since he made his debut in the sport in 2006, and despite being highly regarded has yet to taste victory, leading to speculation that he may leave at the end of the year as his contract with Williams comes to an end.

Rosberg, 23, is "immensely talented" in the eyes of Williams, who fears he could yet lose his star driver, whose father Keke won a world title with the team in 1982. But Williams hopes that improved form this year, which has seen him pick up 15.5 points from the first eight races in the Williams-Toyota, may tempt him to stick with them. "We'd like to keep Nico - he's very popular in the team and a great driver but I understand he needs to be in a fast, winning car, and we've not given that to him yet in his 60 races at the team," Williams said.

Rosberg's best result of the season to date has been two fifth place finishes, achieved in Turkey and last Sunday's British Grand Prix, but he ultimately hasn't had the speed of the pace-setting Brawns and Red Bull's, something that Williams acknowledges. "Our car's not quick enough, actually no one's is to catch Jenson Button and Brawn GP right now," he said. "I'm in Formula One to win - that's why I got into it and that's why I'm staying.

"We desperately want to change our situation." Williams are along with Force India the only current Formula One teams to have committed to racing in the series next year, with the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) making threats of a breakaway series. Williams, a quadriplegic since a car accident leaving the French Grand Prix in 1986, is as passionate and committed to Formula One as ever. "I love it and I wouldn't know what to do without it," he said.

The team has won 113 races since making its debut on the grid back in 1977, with the early days tough as they struggled with low funds. But it was Middle East finances that helped propelled the team up the grid and helped them become the successful outfit that would go on to claim nine constructors' titles. Williams managed to secure backing from Saudi Arabian investors in 1978, and Williams recalls: "The Saudis were fantastic and they backed us for the next five years.

"That enabled us for starters to even exist and then latterly to turn into a serious Formula One team. They were very generous and, with them, we achieved great results." mmajendie@thenational.ae