News and views on motorsports

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

BMW Williams Split?

There has already been speculation that BMW would not only supply the Sauber team with powerplants, it would purchase the Swiss team lock, stock and barrel. In a previous article, I speculated on the status of the Williams and BMW partnership should this transaction take place.

Well according to this story on, BMW might just consider splitting away from Williams, should they acquire Peter Sauber's team. Ai caramba! Does this surprise me? Well yes and no. Yes, because BMW and Williams have such close technical ties nowadays including the use of manufacturing facilities and there was talk of BMW taking over Williams eventually when old Frank retires. No, because after 6 years together, Williams have yet to produce a car worthy of that enormously powerful Munchen powerplant.

Mercedes were with McLaren for 3 seasons with McLaren before taking their first title. Renaults partnership with Williams bore fruit in roughly the same time. Granted that Mercedes have not exactly set the world alight since Mika Hakkinen's 1999 triumph but nevertheless they do have championship trophies in the cabinet. BMW and Mercedes are arch rivals in the luxo car market and neither wants to be seen to lose out to the other. So after 5 seasons, BMW are getting rather nervous over the lack of silverware. Oh and it seems that in this year them boys at Mercedes have got a faster car.

Not exactly good news for the boys in Grove. The form book over the winter and the first race in Australia suggests another year of catch up for the Williams team. The car simply lacks pace despite the team's promises to deliver the goods this year. I mean, let's face it, one could understand if McLaren, Ferrari and Renault outpace them but a Red Bull? No doubt Coulthard has a good car but I think BMW expected a challenger that would dominate or at least be strongly competitve. Think McLaren MP4/14 or Williams FW14B. I think thats what they wanted.

At best Williams are going down the road of the FW24, taking the better part of a third of a season before finally showing promise. BMW want titles not excuses. I'm sure Mario Thiessen prefers to throw press conferences on Formula 1 victories to talking up Touring Car titles.

If BMW severe ties with Williams, what engine would they use? Frank is no fool. He's always managed to tie up works deals in the past. It would be interesting to see with whom though.

The season is still young. Eighteen. Eighteen???!!!... races more to run. Lets see what happens.

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