Ferrari dominance could ‘kill’ for F1
19 March 2004
KUALA LUMPUR – Williams-BMW boss, Frank Williams, has issued a warning: another year of Ferrari dominance will not go down too well.
Speaking ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, Williams told the German magazine ‘auto, motor and sport’ that another year with Ferrari at the top could kill the sport. “The directors of car companies will lose their interest. We need to at least be able to compete for first place.”
He warned that fans would no longer watch Grand Prix coverage if the outcome of races was a forgone conclusion. “And if less people watch the race, there will be less money.”
Although Williams themselves have stated that they are aiming to win both drivers and constructors championships this season, their start in Melbourne was not very positive and Ralf Schumacher (fourth) and Juan-Pablo Montoya (fifth) finished far behind six-time world champion Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello.
But Williams is not merely worried about Ferrari domination: The huge investments are also on his mind. “Cost are crippling us and with one exception, money is becoming a problem for all the teams.
“The exception is Toyota and they are worrying me because, although they are still behind us, they are advancing in giant leaps.”
Williams believes though, that all teams have realised they need to save costs. “If we don’t, the sport will die.”
The Englishman said that Renault was a prime example of how a team could have success without spending huge amounts. “I am very impressed how Renault is managing. To be honest, it makes me sick. They started testing their new car 15 days after us and now they are already faster.”
Williams also complimented his German driver, Schumacher. “I rate Ralf Schumacher very highly. He is very talented, thinks logically when it comes to racing and is extremely intelligent.”
But even though Schumacher is rated highly, negotiations between the driver and his team over a contract extension are presently resting and although Montoya will be moving to McLaren-Mercedes at the end of the season, Schumacher and Williams have yet to reach an agreement about the finances of a contract extension.
Subject: German News