Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 29, 2004

Geoff Willis and Ferrari

The latest hot rumour after the San Marino Grand Prix is that half the BAR-Honda team is suddenly on Ferrari's shopping list for the future with suggestions that Jenson Button is in line to replace Michael Schumacher and Geoff Willis will be swanning down to Maranello to pick up the reins when Ross Brawn leaves.

"There is no truth to it at all," said Willis. "It is pure speculation. Yes, I have an Italian wife and yes, I like the country and maybe one day I would like to live there but I have just bought a house in Britain and I intend to see this job through. So long as we have everything we need to do the job at BAR I intend to stick at it."

It is not unusual these days to hear rumours of engineers moving to Ferrari but there is also a widespread belief that the next man in the top job at Maranello is going to be on a hiding to nothing because it will be virtually impossible to replicate the success of recent times without the same people involved and time will be needed to build a new team. Thus the job is seen by many as a poisoned chalice as expectations will need to be readjusted and inevitably a lack of success will lead to great pressure and the danger that Ferrari will fall into the vicious circle of failure that existed before Luca di Montezemolo and Jean Todt built the current team.