Honda F1 website

JUNE 29, 2003

The next problem for Williams and BMW

The signing of a new contract between Williams and BMW gets rid of long-term problems for the team, but it is not going to be long before another problem emerges. The combination is intent on beating Ferrari and McLaren on a regular basis but in order to do that bigger investment is needed.

It is estimated that at the moment the Williams driver salary bill is in the region of $23m a year. Next year it is expected to rise to more than $25m a year if the current arrangements continue. There is little doubt that the view exists in both Grove and Munich that this money would be better spent on technical development - and unless there are better results from the current drivers big savings must be made. There is already speculation that either Ralf Schumacher or Juan Pablo Montoya will not be retained at the end of their current contracts at the end of next year. And there have even been suggestions that there could be changes even sooner than that.

Drivers are currently in a fairly weak position as retainers are coming down across the board because no-one can afford to pay the kind of money that was being paid a few years ago.