Motorsport News - Renault
Scot Lewis Williamson mysteriously dropped by Red Bull
3rd July 2012
Highlander Lewis Williamson has mysteriously been dropped by the Red Bull Junior Team from its driver development programme. The 22-year-old from Golspie had contested only the opening three rounds of the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 under the programme.
Williamson, a former McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year winner, had been placed with the fledgling Arden Caterham for this season.
It's been well publicised the team has struggled to get to grips, not only with the its first season contesting the new formula, but also the new cars used in the championship for 2012.
Already a number of teams have been in contact with the talented Scot, who impressively tested a McLaren F1 car at Silverstone last year, keen to have him onboard for the rest of the season.
The news from Red Bull also came just weeks after Williamson started fourth on the grid at a rain-lashed Spa-Francorchamps.
Dundee-born Williamson's race was ruined when a Safety Car was deployed just second before the team was set to call him in for his mandatory pitstop.
On the restart, the team then instructed Williamson to remain out on track and use the rest of the race as an unofficial 'test session'. Naturally, the Scot did as he was told.
While the rest of the leading contenders slithered backwards in the unrelenting conditions, Williamson remained ahead of the pack and, in doing so displayed his natural talent, setting the second-fastest lap of the race in the process.
Despite being first to take the chequered flag, stewards subsequently handed the Scot a 60-second penalty for not making his pitstop, dropping him back to a disappointing 16th
A statement released by Red Bull covering Williamson's dismissal stated: "he has not had the success everyone expected this year in the Renault 3.5 series that is seen as a direct step into Formula 1, the step that was taken in last year by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. It is a brutally competitive business."
The Scot, who should have raced at the Nurburgring in Germany at the weekend and has been replaced by Portuguese GP3 racer Antonio Felix da Costa, wasn't available for comment.
However, in the ever-more confusing and politically motivated world of motorsport, it is clear Red Bull Racing — which competes in Formula One — still values Williamson's continued contribution, which makes the decision by the Red Bull Junior Team to remove him from the "driver's seat" all the more bewildering.
The Scot has spent much his time this season at Red Bull F1's base in Milton Keynes, working on the team's simulator developing the F1 car which double world champ Sebastian Vettel, and Aussie Mark Webber, will drive in this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Interestingly, Williamson — who continues to be backed by the Highland Arena consortium of private backers and is now living in Milton Keynes — will continue to carry out this work to help further develop the F1 car.
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