French GP: Williams preview

Although the last two races on North American soil did not produce any points for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, the team's on track performance demonstrated a significant improvement in terms of the FW26's competitiveness. In preparation for the next...

Although the last two races on North American soil did not produce any points for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, the team's on track performance demonstrated a significant improvement in terms of the FW26's competitiveness.

In preparation for the next round of back to backs at Magny-Cours and at Silverstone, WilliamsF1's home Grand Prix, the team has been testing new components at Jerez this week, developments which will be brought to Magny-Cours. Two demonstrably upgraded FW26's will therefore be lining up on next weekend's grid.

Following his accident at last weekend's United States Grand Prix, Ralf Schumacher is recuperating at his home in Austria. A decision will be taken early next week regarding his condition and whether he will be fit enough to compete in the French Grand Prix.

Last year's race at the Circuit de Nevers saw the BMW WilliamsF1 Team continue their run of mid-season success. Having locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying, both drivers drove a flawless race, maintaining their grid positions to bring home a second successive one-two victory for the team.

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"I think the US Grand Prix is cursed for me. Last year in Indy I lost any chance of winning the Drivers' Championship and this year… well, you know! It was disappointing not to have scored any points in Indy, as we really needed them. However, we are now facing another two back-to-back races and I am confident we can finally get it right at Magny-Cours and at Silverstone."

"The French Grand Prix marks the start of the second half of the Championship but there are still plenty of points to collect. It is important to always look ahead in this business. In 2003, Ralf and I qualified first and second respectively at Magny- Cours, and we crossed the line in first and second. This might be difficult to achieve again this year, but we know we usually perform well at this track."

"We are also taking some new parts out to France which should make the car more competitive. We must now return to form and make up for the points we've lost as a result of factors unrelated to our track performance."

Ralf Schumacher:

"As it's only been four days since I was released from hospital following the accident in Indianapolis, I can not, at this stage, make a decision as to whether I will take part in next weekend's race in Magny-Cours."

"I am taking full advantage of the two week break between Indy and France to rest and recuperate from the accident. When the time comes to make the decision, I will be guided by Professor Sid Watkins' advice and speak to Frank Williams about the best course of action."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):

"After two disappointing races in North America, where the car was competitive but we didn't score points for various reasons, we are looking forward to going to Magny-Cours. Ralf is recovering well after the accident in Indianapolis, but it is not yet known whether he will be fit enough to take part in the French Grand Prix. We will be in a position to confirm our driver line up early next week."

"For Magny-Cours, we will have several aerodynamic improvements on the car, part of our on-going development programme to enhance the performance of the FW26. We have also made some mechanical changes which should improve our competitiveness, particularly around this type of circuit. The track at Magny-Cours includes a high speed section, two high speed chicanes and a couple of slow and medium speed corners."

"Traditionally, it is a very smooth circuit which was changed last year to extend the last sector before the pitlane. Strategy should be fairly straightforward due to the length of the pitlane and the typical tyre degradation that we see at Magny-Cours."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"There's no doubt that the events of the two flyaway races, Ralf's accident in particular, have placed a strain on the whole team. However, despite the negative races in Montreal and Indy, our actual track performance displayed signs of improvement. Ralf's pole position in Montreal, and the performance of both drivers in both races, reflects that."

"Magny-Cours will make only fairly average demands on the BMW P84 engine, but we still need to ensure full reliability. We've had some hot races in France in the past which places additional pressure on the thermal resistance of the engine, however, despite such conditions, the target must be to take full advantage of the P84's power and rev potential."

-williams-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams