F1 round-up: Head talks, Gene confirmed...

Williams technical director Patrick Head says he had decided to plump for Bruno Junqueira over Jenson Button when the team were deciding on a partner for Ralf Schumacher - but he changed his mind once he saw Button on the track

F1 round-up: Head talks, Gene confirmed...

The team tested both Button and Junqueira in a pre-season shoot-out at Jerez to decide which driver should get the second Williams seat: "I'd pretty much decided we should have Junqueira because we were already familiar with him and the engineers had a high regard for his technical understanding," said Head.

"But then Jenson did a test for us at Jerez that suddenly made the decision very difficult. We then went to Barcelona and he used a left-foot braking set-up for the first time. And instantly, on a track he'd never seen before, he was very quick and in the end we had to go for him."

As expected Williams has confirmed ex-Minardi peddlar Marc Gene as the team's official test driver for next year. The Spaniard has signed a one-year contract and will get his first run with the team on December 5 alongside Schumacher and Juan Montoya.

Montoya, who replaces Jenson Button at Williams, arrived in Oxford last week to move into a new house and reacquaint himself with the Grove-based team. The 1999 CART champ, who was test driver for the team in 1998, spent time with his engineers and met with Williams bosses Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head.

Mika Salo says he is looking forward to having a year away from racing while testing for Toyota next year. The Finn is leaving his race seat at Sauber to test for Toyota alongside Allan McNish before the Japanese marque enters F1 in 2002. "I have to say that I am happy to be having a year off," said Salo. "There won't be time for new hobbies though. There'll be lots of testing, in fact, I will be driving more in 2001 than I was this year anyway, even without the racing!"

Ferrari ace Rubens Barrichello has won a 500-mile endurance kart race in his native Brazil. This year's German Grand Prix winner finished the race - held in Sao Paulo - with a five-lap lead. Champ Car aces Tony Kanaan and Christian Fittipaldi were Barrichello's team mates.

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