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To be Frank... I have but one regret

NEWS STORY
04/10/2006

Writing for the Daily Telegraph - where else? - Frank Williams says that he absolutely no regrets over signing rookie Nico Rosberg for his team this year, and feels that should McLaren follow his example and bring Lewis Hamilton into F1, the English youngster having succeeded the German as GP2 Champion, team boss Ron Dennis wouldn't regret it.

"I've been delighted with Nico and Mark Webber this year," writes Webber. "I'm only sorry we were not able to give them better equipment.

"It has not been our best year, and that's putting it mildly," he admits. "Indeed we are heading for our lowest points return in the constructors' championship since we started more than 25 years ago. That's very disappointing for us. We have let ourselves down. We can and must do better next year."

Referring to Hamilton, Williams continues: "I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to tell Ron how to do his job. All I can say regarding the possible appointment of Hamilton at McLaren is that I have not had one regret about putting Nico in our car this year straight from GP2. Not a bit.

"I have met Lewis only once some years ago. We had a brief chat, half an hour or so. If I were Ron I would have no hesitation in putting him in the car. He looked outstanding this year, a super talent.

"There is another benefit, too, that is often overlooked," adds Williams, who is known for watching the pennies. "These young drivers bring the costs down. They will be ratcheted up in the years ahead, of course. But it gives us a bit more flexibility."

The Englishman admits that though he is delighted to have Rosberg on board, he does have on regret, and that concerns another German driver.

"Now that he is retiring I have to accept I'll never have Michael in my team. I'd have loved that. We all would.

"I did try once," he reveals. "We had a couple of conversations with his agent, Willi Weber, at the end of 1995 with a view to having him in the car for 1997. The desire was serious but we had never paid a driver the kind of sums they were asking. It's nice to dream.

"Michael is an absolutely fantastic driver, up there with the best. How do you compare across eras? Was Jimmy Clark better? It's very difficult to say. Was Wellington a better general than Patten? Who knows, really? People say Michael cracks under pressure. I've seen it once. But then they all do from time to time.

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