FEBRUARY 23, 2004
Why Ralf needs to be careful
Ralf Schumacher's comments to a German newspaper at the weekend will not go down well at Williams headquarters in Grove. The German driver's contract with the team is up at the end of this year and the negotiation process has been stalled for some weeks. Ralf is known to be have been in detailed discussion with Toyota about a drive for 2005. Williams never makes any comments about driver negotiations but sources within the team say that Ralf had better watch out because Williams is not going to budge on its money and will not be overly worried if Ralf does depart because, while very quick on his day, he seems to lack the consistency to be a World Champion. Even without the issue of money, Ralf needs to prove that he is the best man for the job. Schumacher has the advantage of knowing the team well and a change of driver always means that there has to be a learning period with a new man but Williams is willing to accept a change of both drivers if it is necessary.
There is a strong feeling down at Williams that one or other of the Williams drivers should have won the World Championship last year but that they let the title slip away despite the fact that the team enjoyed a big performance advantage over its rivals for half of the season.
The betting is now that Ralf will depart to Toyota and that Williams will sit back and let the results speak for themselves and see which drivers show an interest in joining the team in 2005.
A winning car is always the best draw.
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