Williams unable to take big steps

Frank Williams thinks a big step up in performance is needed for his team to catch Ferrari but the rules in F1 are preventing any revolutionary progress. Williams' 2003 challenger, the FW25, is hoped to take the fight closer to the Scuderia but improvements can only continue in smaller ways.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Frank Williams.
Photo by BMW PressClub.

Williams is happy with his driver pairing of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher but was frustrated by only a single race win last year, despite high performances in qualifying. But he admits the biggest problem to overcome is five-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

"Ferrari and Michael were brilliant (in 2002)," Williams said according to the BBC. "We need an enormous jump to catch up with them, but the strict rules don't allow a revolution, only small steps. We have two strong drivers in Juan Pablo Montoya and in Ralf Schumacher. We were on pole seven times this year and we won only one race. That was very frustrating. But, I am honest, Michael is the biggest problem for everyone, he is extraordinary."

After a string of pole positions, Montoya failed to claim a victory in 2002, Ralf taking the honours in Malaysia. Williams finished second in the Contructors' standings while McLaren had a lacklustre season. However, despite Williams' performance, Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn deems McLaren the bigger threat in 2003.

"If I had to name our number-one rival for 2003, I'd say McLaren without a moment's hesitation," Brawn told F1 Racing magazine. "Adrian (Newey, McLaren's technical director) is an intelligent man, he knows what he's doing. Plus, at the track, McLaren's working methods have always been better than Williams'."