Williams-BMW has confirmed that Mark Webber will join the team in 2005, but in a classic case of F1 politicking, Renault boss Flavio Briatore reportedly told the Grove-based team it could either sign the Australian or Italian Giancarlo Fisichella – but not both.

Williams-BMW has confirmed that Mark Webber will join the team in 2005, but in a classic case of F1 politicking, Renault boss Flavio Briatore reportedly told the Grove-based team it could either sign the Australian or Italian Giancarlo Fisichella – but not both.
Webber, 27, rose to prominence in F1 in his début race in Melbourne in 2002, when he claimed a fifth place for Minardi, and has been driving for the Jaguar Racing since the start of 2003.
“Mark is self-evidently a highly talented driver," said team boss Frank Williams, “But his tenacity, determination and motivation are also qualities we prize at WilliamsF1. As a team, we have traditionally prospered with drivers who have a down-to-earth, ‘let’s get on with it’ attitude. Mark is certainly in that mould, and I am delighted he has agreed to join the team for 2005."
For his part, Webber said on the signing of the agreement, “The deal I have agreed with Williams really is the most significant milestone in my career to date, and I have great expectations of what we can achieve together. The team has a reputation for a no-nonsense approach to racing, which suits me just fine."
Sam Michael, WilliamsF1's Technical Director, said: "Mark is the kind of character who will give new impetus to everyone employed at WilliamsF1 and at BMW. He is a driven person with one goal. Mark displays to me all of the characteristics on and off the track of a champion in the making, and I believe he will be a significant catalyst in improving our future results,” he said.
Mario Theissen, BMW’s motorsport director added, “BMW is delighted that Mark is joining the team. We have been fully involved and consulted in the process of recruiting Mark, and completely support his selection.”
Williams-BMW apparently wanted to recruit both the Webber and Fisichella for 2005. CARtoday.com quoted a report that suggested Fisichella turned down an offer from the team, but British newspaper is claiming that Flavio Briatore, who amongst his many roles is team principal of the Renault F1 team, forced Sir Frank to choose between the Australian and Italian.
According to the article, Briatore, who manages Webber, wanted Fisichella to replace Jarno Trulli but was aware that Williams-BMW wanted both Webber and the Italian.
Briatore apparently made it clear to Sir Frank that if he pursued Fisichella, the Renault boss would have no hesitation in negotiating a deal with Toyota, which was also keen to acquire the services of the Australian.
Such was Briatore's desire to get Fisichella in the second Renault, he was willing (as Webber's manager) to accept a lesser deal with Toyota, simply to snub the British team.
There is still much speculation in the paddock however as to why the relationship between Trulli, Renault and Briatore soured. It's widely believed that up until the French Grand Prix, the re-signing of the Italian was a mere formality.