Williams needs to improve

As the new Formula 1 season approaches there are signs that the new Williams-BMW is not going to be very competitive at the start of the year. Testing times so far suggest that the Williams may not even be on the same pace as the Toyotas although the team is confident that the FW25 will develop quickly as the season progresses.

"Some things are occurring that we are not able to understand right away," BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen told the STUTTGARTER NACHRICHTEN newspaper on Wednesday. "We have to investigate why the car is not fast."

Sources at Williams have confirmed that the car is not going as quickly as had been hoped but said that there will be rapid improvement as new parts are developed.

"We should be quicker," said one insider, 'and we are not satisfied with where we are but there is a lot of progress to be made because this is a completely new concept of a car and is fundamentally a much better car than the FW24. The problem is that it is too new for us and we are trying to catch up. There will be developments coming from race to race and so we should get better. We will have to wait to see exactly where we are but the Toyotas look good and the Renaults are not bad either."

BMW is still to decide whether or not it will continue its contract with Williams beyond the end of 2004 with the management in Munich still negotiating with Williams. Although fans of the BMW factory team idea are still saying that "everything is possible" the signs are that BMW will adopt its usual cautious approach and stick with Williams as the investment needed to do its own thing would be enormous and there is no guarantee in the short term that the cars would be competitive in under four or five years. If one considers the progress which has been made by Toyota. The company announced its plans to enter F1 in January 1999 and four years later is now just beginning to reach a competitive level.

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