Italian Giancarlo Fisichella has reportedly turned down an offer to drive for Williams-BMW and signed a contract to return to Renault, where he will partner Fernando Alonso, next year.

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella has reportedly turned down an offer to drive for Williams-BMW and signed a contract to return to Renault, where he will partner Fernando Alonso, next year.


newspaper reports that Fisichella has signed a two-year deal to replace fellow Italian Jarno Trulli, who is expected to join Toyota next season alongside Ralf Schumacher.


Fisichella's decision is seen as a coup for Renault team boss Flavio Briatore... Trulli - the only man other than Michael Schumacher to have won a race this season – recently announced that he would leave the French team, but Fisichella impressed many in the F1 establishment by finishing sixth in the British Grand Prix for the underperforming Sauber team.


The diminutive Italian was dropped by Renault at the end of 2001 in favour of Trulli, and his decision to rejoin will ensure the team continue to have a strong driver line-up. But Williams are struggling after both their current drivers decided to leave, Juan-Pablo Montoya for McLaren and Schumacher for Toyota.


The recruitment of Webber has been the Grove-based team’s priority, and his deal is likely to be confirmed after an option date in his contract with Jaguar expires next month.


Sir Frank Williams’ team wanted Fisichella to partner the Australian in a strong line-up but there are now no experienced, front-line options for the team. Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who lost his drive at BAR at the end of last season, German Jordan driver Nick Heidfeld and McLaren's David Coulthard are said to be the remaining candidates on Williams’ short list.