I have that book too, and it is a very interesting question. I'm not convinced the two things are linked - the 1982 doubts about Keke's seat and his attitude to Mansell in 1984. For 1983, Williams signed Laffite for two years but it obviously wasn't him in the frame in 1982. I thought it might be someone who was considered to have potential in 1982 but had floundered by the end of 1984. I came up with Eddie Cheever, driving for Talbot (Ligier) in 1982 but it is just a hunch.
Cheever would certainly be on what was a very short list. There could only be four drivers fitting Keke's criteria and still racing in 1984:
De Cesaris (Alfa Romeo)
The only driver who hadn't achieved a podium was Surer, so would seem the most likely, although had a habit of breaking his legs.
Cheever - 2nd and 3rd in '82, Would he have considered a team that looked like they were struggling? Plus 3 podiums in '83 for Renault.
De Cesaris - 3 podiums by the end of '83, though Frank & Patrick liked drivers who didn't crash, so highly unlikely.
Mansell - 4 podiums by the end of '84.
The other possibility - although he was out of a drive for '84 - was Jarier, driver who was rated by Frank. Good on his day, but lost interest too quickly if things got tough. It is much forgotten that he was twice in line for the Williams drive in '82 - first Jones' seat, then Reutemann's, but bad luck and circumstance meant he never got either.
Trading Rosberg for any of these drivers seems even more absurd than it did then, but Williams only seems to rate their drivers in retrospect with the exception of Jones, who to many was Williams!
Edited by hogstar, 09 August 2019 - 08:37.