AT&T Williams has revealed that it will run an unchanged driver line-up for the 2009 Formula One season, with Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima retained as the team's race drivers, and Nico Hulkenberg continuing as the team's official test driver.
With continuity a key consideration, the team has said that it is confident that third year pilot Rosberg posseses the ability and experience to lead its driving strength into a new era for F1, where the FW31 will run to a new set of regulations.
The German had been linked to a number of other seats, but always insisted that he would honour his contract with Williams, which was extended while he was apparently under consideration for a McLaren ride in 2008.
Nakajima, too, has shown improved form and consistency
throughout his rookie season, having arrived at the Grove team as a raw - and sometimes rough around the edges - GP2 graduate. Williams has said that it expects the Toyota protege to be able to build his natural pace to complement his new-found steadiness next season.
Given his Toyota backing, Nakajima had been rumoured as a possible replacement for Jarno Trulli at the factory team but, with the Italian and 2008 team-mate Timo Glock all but confirmed for another year in Cologne, Nakajima will stay put as he continues to learn his trade.
Hulkenberg, the F3 Euroseries champion-elect, had had sparse F1 experience this year, but will continue to play an important role for the team into 2009, with the
significant shift in the technical regulations likely to place an increased onus on testing and development.
“I am delighted that we are able to maintain continuity with our drivers going into 2009," team principal Frank Williams said, "Nico continues to be one of the most capable drivers in the sport, while Kazuki is getting stronger all the time and has more to offer, and Nico Hulkenberg is developing well.”