MARCH 14, 2005
There is a lot of talk at the moment about the future engine supply of the Williams team. Most of this appears to be entirely speculation as BMW Motorsport would be stark raving mad to believe that switching from Williams to Sauber would produce better results. They may speak the same language but Sauber has won rather fewer World Championships than Williams and has a little less of everything than Williams. This is not to say that Sauber is a bad team because obviously it is not but it is not realistic to think that a switch would immediately turn Sauber in a World Championship winning team. It is much more likely and much more logical for BMW to supply engines to Sauber and thus keep the pressure on Williams to perform better. The idea that BMW will buy into Sauber is interesting but one has to question the logic of a conservative manufacturer like BMW deciding to invest huge sums in F1 at a time when the future of the sport is still to be sorted out. It is really not credible. In addition to that we believe that Williams and BMW have a contract which calls for at least 18 months notice before the relationship comes to an end. Thus if BMW does want out of Williams it will need to inform the team by June and can then end the deal at the end of 2006. This has been designed to ensure that the team does not get left in the lurch as happened back in the 1990s when Honda decided to take off to McLaren.
Where the stories are correct is in the fact that Williams and BMW are demanding partners and life is not always easy. Having said that BMW has created some of the problems in recent years by pushing for the team to use drivers who were not perhaps the best choices for the team.
We will see how things develop. The current rumours suggest that Williams has been talking to a number of manufacturers. This would not be a surprise at all because F1 team bosses are always covering all options, just to see where all the big players in the business stand. But talking and doing deals are two completely different concepts. Williams remains intent on winning the title this year and is confident that the promising showing in Australia will be a sound base for a stronger challenge in the races ahead.
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