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Williams set for big step up in 2008
LONDON (Reuters) - Former champions Williams could be back among the top three Formula One teams next year, according to their German driver Nico Rosberg.
The Toyota-powered team are currently fifth, after sinking to eighth last year, but Rosberg told Britain's Autosport magazine on Thursday that conceptual plans for next year's car looked very promising.
"It looks as if we would make a substantial step forward in 2008," said the German, who has scored nine of Williams 22 points in his second season in Formula One.
"I reckon that we might be able to make up one or two places in the constructors' championship.
"We could leave Renault behind us and I expect we can reach BMW Sauber and should be able to become the third force in F1," he added. "Next year's step will be at least as big as it was from last year to this one, and that was a big step."
Rosberg, son of Finland's 1982 world champion Keke, has a contract with the British-based team for next year.
He said he intended to stay despite paddock speculation linking him to Toyota, as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher, and McLaren should Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso leave the leaders.
"I am happy at Williams and a switch to Toyota is out of the question since I have a solid contract here for next year," Rosberg said.
Williams technical director Sam Michael said they were heading in the right direction after a dire 2006, with the team retaining their Toyota engines following three seasons in a row with different partners.
"It's not an evolution of FW29, it's a new car," he said of the 2008 racer. "We've started from scratch and it will be very different. But there's been no risk-taking, we're confident that everything will work effectively."
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