Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 29, 1999

Still no sign of Williams

THE Williams Formula 1 team was due to turn up at Magny-Cours last week but failed to appear, the test being called off because of a lack of spare parts since the Australian Grand Prix. This is an embarrassing situation for the team and a big setback as it has done no development at all while rival teams such as Prost has been able to complete more than 2,000 miles of running. Williams went into the season with less mileage than most of its opposition, having completed only 1,500 miles of running with the FW21, while some other teams had completed more than 2,000 miles before the cars were shipped off to Melbourne.

It should be noted, however, that many of the parts of the FW21 were tested on the old FW20 in the course of the winter months when the team completed 3,000 miles of running with the older car.

The team should have everything back in proper order when it begins testing at Barcelona this week. The only news made by Williams in recent days is that it is not planning to rely on tobacco money in 2000. At the launch of the team's new Williams F1 brand, the team's head of marketing Jim Wright, said that he expected high technology, telecommunications and computer companies to replace tobacco firms in the years ahead.

There have been rumors in recent days that Mika Salo may be named the team's reserve driver - although such a move would make little sense for the Finn as he is hoping to get back into racing as soon as possible. He remains more likely to be involved in the Honda F1 program.