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APRIL 26, 2001

BMW boss talks down championship chances

DESPITE the BMW-Williams team's impressive performances in the early races of the season, BMW boss Mario Thiessen believes there is another step to make before they become championship challengers.

Victory in the last race for Ralf Schumacher got paddock tongues talking about Williams being the new force, but Thiessen has dismissed their chances.

"I wouldn't object to more wins," said Thiessen. "But I think at the moment, we are not really ready for the championship.

"It takes much more than that to get the whole package right once. A top team has to be able to deal with each and every situation.

"We certainly got the package right at Imola, all the four key factors: driver, car, engine and tires, but there are certainly much different situations to come.

"I think we didn't even experience all these situations which can happen so far. I think it takes a bit more time and we're happy to save this goal for next season."

The team's victory at Imola came as no surprise to Thiessen after impressive performance by Juan Pablo Montoya in the preceding Brazilian Grand Prix.

"Before the first race of this season, I would have been surprised about a victory in the fourth race," he said. "But having seen the first races, it wasn't that much of a surprise any more."

But BMW and Williams are certainly not holding station, and they are continuing to improve. "We are in a development process," said Thiessen. "It certainly hasn't been finished yet."