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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 12:12 GMT
All change
by Julian Shea

Nico Rosberg's addition to Williams' line-up for the 2006 season is just the latest change on the Formula One merry-go-round.

The 20-year-old won this year's inaugural GP2 series and will now compete at the top level at the team where his father Keke won the world title in 1982.

But with three rebranded teams and several new faces next season, the F1 landscape in 2006 will be substantially different.

Here is a look at the changes for next year announced so far.

FERRARI

The 2005 campaign was one to forget for Ferrari and its fans as design and tyre problems saw a golden age of success come to a halt.

Felipe Massa

The team never recovered from a poor start to the season and in August it was announced that former Sauber driver Felipe Massa would replace fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello as the team's number two driver for 2006, partnering Michael Schumacher.

The 24-year-old's best finish last season was fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix, and considering his relative lack of experience, many eyebrows were raised when Ferrari moved for him.

But he is not an unproven quality, having been Ferrari's test driver in 2003, and team technical director Ross Brawn has backed the decision to appoint him.

"He has got the talent, we are going to find out next year exactly how much progress he has made," he said.

"It's really up to him to prove next year whether he's a long-term Ferrari driver or not. If he does well, I'm sure he can be."

With 2005 having been such a year of disappointment, Ferrari fans will be desperate to see something more like normal service resumed in 2006.

Despite being the junior partner to Schumacher, Massa will be carrying a burden of expectation.

BAR

Massa's arrival at Ferrari followed the departure of Barrichello, and his move to BAR will certainly signal changes there.

Rubens Barrichello

Last season Jenson Button was driving under a cloud of uncertainty over where his future lay as he tried to get out of an agreement to join Williams, and his number two was the erratic Takuma Sato.

But after Button's future has been resolved, and Sato has gone.

The low point of the Japanese driver's season came at the Belgian Grand Prix when a furious Michael Schumacher said he "needed therapy" after an incident which saw Sato penalised 10 places on the grid at the next race.

So it was no surprise when BAR chose to take advantage of Barrichello's availability, rather than continue with Sato.

For years Barrichello was forced to play second fiddle to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari but now he is out of the German's shadow, he will be a serious contender in his own right.

His move to BAR could be just what the team as a whole needs.

At the age of 33, Barichello faces a whole new challenge, and his presence in the camp, combined with the end of the Williams saga, could inspire Button to convert last season's podium finishes into Grand Prix wins.

Williams

Few things in sport are quite as much of a double-edged sword as being the son of a famous father.

Nico Rosberg

For all the goodwill that his surname will earn new Williams driver Nico Rosberg, he will have to work extra hard to ensure he emerges from the shadow of his father, former world champion Keke Rosberg.

Like Massa at Ferrari, 20-year-old Rosberg is not an entirely unproven quality, having tested for Williams in 2002.

Sir Frank Williams has a reputation as a spotter of young talent, and he is clearly impressed by what the GP2 champion will bring to the team.

"I believe I am only one of many in F1 who is genuinely excited about the prospect of Nico Rosberg," he said.

"His natural talent in the cockpit is equally matched by his intelligence out of it."

He will partner Mark Webber and replaces Nick Heidfeld, who has joined the new BMW team.

Australian Webber finished 10th overall in 2005, and although he was more consistent in qualifying than in races, he made a good impression throughout the season.

The combination of two young drivers means Williams should be able to improve upon 2005's fifth-placed finish.

BMW

Next season sees BMW's livery replace that of Sauber on the grid, and that is not the only change.

Nick Heidfeld

With Felipe Massa having moved to Ferrari, his place goes to former Williams driver Nick Heidfeld.

The German was a consistent performer but his season was brought to a premature end by injuries.

Former world champion Jacques Villeneueve has a year left on his Sauber contract so is likely to line up alongside him, and Dan Wheldon could earn a testing spot.

Englishman Wheldon is the reigning American Indycar champion, and last season won the prestigious double of both the Indy 500 race and the overall Indycar championship.

Previous drivers to do this include Villeneuve and Emerson Fitipaldi, both of whom were also F1 world champions.

It will be interesting to see whether this is any kind of omen.

Midland

Christijan Albers

The Midland team is the rebranded Jordan team, and their main driver in 2006 will be former Minardi driver Christijan Albers.

The 26-year-old scored four points in his debut season this year, coming fifth in the farce that was the US Grand Prix.

But overall it was hard for him to make much of an impression, driving for one of the rank outsiders, and driving for a brand new team next season is unlikely to increase his chances of success.

Either Narain Karthikeyan or Tiago Monteiro is likely to be Midland's number two driver next year, but in their first season, they can only have limited expectations.

Toro Rosso

Even more of an known quantity will be Minardi's replacement team, Squadra Toro Rosso.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

The team has been bought by Red Bull and the new owners have installed Franz Tost, formerly of BMW, as the team chief.

David Coulthard and Christian Klien are expected to stay with the senior Red Bull team.

Toro Rosso's partnership will most likely consist of former Formula 3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi and American Scott Speed.

Liuzzi had a number of run-outs for Red Bull last season but lost his place to Klien.

Speed has driven for Red Bull in the GP2 series this season, and will test drive for Red Bull's senior team.

If he does compete in the F1 championship, he will be the first American to do so since Michael Andretti in 1993.

Only two Americans have ever won the F1 world title, Mario Andretti in 1978 and Phil Hill in 1961.


SEE ALSO
F1 starts 2006 season in Bahrain
26 Oct 05 |  Formula One
Alonso revels in 'easy' China win
16 Oct 05 |  Formula One
Alonso steers Renault to F1 glory
16 Oct 05 |  Formula One


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