Many F1 observers expect Williams-BMW to sign Mark Webber for the 2005 season, but who will be the Australian’s team-mate? It’s believed Giancarlo Fisichella’s performance at Silverstone elevated the Italian on the Grove-based team’s list of candidates.

Many F1 observers expect Williams-BMW to sign Mark Webber for the 2005 season, but who will be the Australian’s team-mate? It’s believed Giancarlo Fisichella’s performance at Silverstone elevated the Italian on the Grove-based team’s list of candidates.


Starting from the back of the grid in Sunday's British Grand Prix, Fisichella, running a two-stop strategy, worked his way up to sixth position, seeing off drivers in supposedly superior cars.


BMW Motosport boss Mario Theissen said he was impressed with the popular Italian driver: “That was very interesting to watch. That he was able to move to sixth from the back of the field is something that we have to look into”.


With Ralf Schumacher and Juan-Pablo Montoya both leaving Williams-BMW at the end of the season, the British team is looking for two drivers, and Fisichella certainly fits into the “racer” mould so beloved of team boss Frank Williams.


The team’s director of engineering, Patrick Head, was also impressed: “Fisichella had a fantastic race,” said the Englishman. “A strong race and strong finish - by a strong driver obviously”.


Since many in the F1 paddock are convinced that Webber has already been signed for 2005, there is constant speculation as to who should be placed in the second seat.


It's known that Fisichella is one of a number of drivers the Grove outfit is looking at, a list that includes BAR test driver Anthony Davidson, 1997 World Champion and former Williams pilot Jacques Villeneuve and Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld.


Although Heidfeld’s German nationality should increase his chances of being recruited by the Anglo-German team, Theissen was at pains to point out that it is not a requirement that a German drives for the team, merely a racer capable of winning.


“We have always made clear that we are keen on signing the best drivers available,” said Theissen. “Should one of these drivers be a German this would be a welcome bonus but it isn't a must, as F1 is a global sport and BMW is a global company”.


However, Williams and Head have both said that they want a proven winner in their car, and though Fisi's single win (in Brazil last year) was fortuitous, it was still a win, and under difficult circumstances. There are many that believe that, given the right car, the Italian still has championship winning potential.


When asked if Fisichella was being considered for the second seat, Head replied: “He's always been on the list.”

Original article from Car