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Rosberg possible for Williams

Nico Rosberg, the son of former world champion Keke, has been confirmed as one of the drivers in line to race for Williams next year but is unlikely to make his Grand Prix debut this season.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2005 19:33 IST

Nico Rosberg, the son of former world champion Keke, has been confirmed as one of the drivers in line to race for Williams next year but is unlikely to make his Grand Prix debut this season, according to Williams technical chief Sam Michael.

Williams are searching for a partner for Australian Mark Webber after allowing Briton Jenson Button to buy himself out of a contract to join the team and selling German Nick Heidfeld to BMW to lead their new team next year.

Rosberg has been racing in GP2 this season and is currently leading the championship with one round to go but could be drafted in as a replacement for Heidfeld, who is injured, at the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix.

But Michael said: "He is obviously a very good young driver, he is definitely on our list for the future, but whether he races for the last two Grands Prix is something that (team boss) Frank Williams can decide race by race.

"I would say it is unlikely but there is still a possibility there. But more importantly I think he has shown what he can do in GP2 and what he has shown us inside a Formula One car is pretty good as well."

Rosberg was signed as a Williams test driver earlier this season and has already had several tests for the team as part of the grooming process to ready him for Formula One.

He faces a fight with Briton Anthony Davidson and current test driver Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia for a place on the grid next year but Michael believes the German has already shown he has what it takes.

"The first time we met Nico he was 17 years old, that was about two-and-a-half years ago now," said Michael.

"He was clearly too young to be involved in Formula One at that stage, but it was quite a good exercise. It gave him enough of a taste to know he wanted to do it, and we could see straight away he is a very intelligent guy, probably one of the smartest of his age I have come across.

"When I say the smartest I mean from an engineering perspective, he had a very good understanding of car dynamics, tyres and things like that, even at that age, and that was pretty impressive.

"I guess that has come through things handed down by his father."

Rosberg's father Keke made his Grand Prix debut in 1978 and competed in 114 Grands Prix, scoring five pole positions, five wins and one world title, with Williams in 1982, before retiring in 1986.

First Published: Sep 24, 2005 19:33 IST