Former BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger doubts that Williams will be able to challenge Ferrari until later in the year, as the difference in performance is too big. Williams had predicted its 2004 car would be competitive from the first...
Former BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger doubts that Williams will be able to challenge Ferrari until later in the year, as the difference in performance is too big. Williams had predicted its 2004 car would be competitive from the first race, which it was to a certain extent, but the pace of the Ferraris was in a league of its own at Melbourne.
"I don't think Williams will be able to close the gap on Ferrari in the first half of the season because it was really big," Berger told BBC radio. "The team was really happy before the season with the balance and performance of the car, so I don't see they have any major problems with it."
"They just need to do development work. And development work usually takes a bit of time. So I don't see a big change in the next races apart from maybe the influence of heat and the tyres. And then we will see: maybe from mid-season on we are going to see a strong competition."
Williams had an unsettled start to 2003 but its performance increased mid-season, Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya taking four wins and four second places between them from Monaco to Germany. Ferrari also had a comparatively poor start to last year but returned to strength -- this time around the Scuderia is already strong.
Despite Ferrari's performance in Melbourne, many think Malaysia and Bahrain will be a different matter. The Michelin runners should fare better in the heat and Williams is hoping for a good result, even if closing in on Ferrari is not yet a possibility.
"Following our disappointing race in Melbourne last weekend, we immediately started working on improving the FW26 in order to be competitive for the next race and close the gap to Ferrari," said Montoya. "The hot temperatures, typical of Malaysia and Bahrain, should be favourable for our car, so we are hoping that the next two races will be more positive for us."