Theissen discusses Ralf leaving Williams

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen talks about reactions to Ralf Schumacher leaving Williams "During the British Grand Prix weekend, most conversations concentrated on a driver who hadn't even travelled to Silverstone: Ralf Schumacher. Ralf...

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen talks about reactions to Ralf Schumacher leaving Williams

"During the British Grand Prix weekend, most conversations concentrated on a driver who hadn't even travelled to Silverstone: Ralf Schumacher. Ralf will leave the BMW WilliamsF1 Team at the end of the 2004 season, so it comes as no surprise that there was a lot of interest and curiosity with regards our reactions to this decision."

Dr Mario Theissen.
Photo by BMW PressClub.

"While the drivers of other teams are often replaced after one year only, Ralf will have been a WilliamsF1 driver for six years when the 2004 season is over. As I see it, it is appropriate to talk about loyalty in such a case. After such a long time it's totally normal that a driver thinks about moving to another team."

"After long lasting and intense negotiations between Frank Williams and Ralf, both sides decided not to extend the contract. When both parties are keen on looking for a new challenge, it doesn't make sense if you try to enforce a further cooperation that none of the involved parties seems to be interested in."

"We have been permanently informed regarding the negotiations; therefore, the announcement hasn't come as a surprise. At the end of the day, Frank Williams is our negotiator when it comes to signing a driver. Just as in all other areas, the responsibilities in this area are also clearly assigned. This is a reasonable solution that won't be changed."

"In the past years, Ralf has contributed far more to the development of the car, and thus to our successes, than you can realise if you aren't a team insider. And I am convinced that Ralf will work for us and remain as motivated when he has recovered and is ready to return behind the wheel. He will be keen on using any possible chance to prove that he has fully recovered from the Indianapolis accident. Basically, the situation is the same for both Ralf and Juan Pablo: drivers and team have the same goal, to achieve the best possible result at every Grand Prix weekend."

"When it comes to the regularly mentioned issue of 'knowledge transfer' to another team, I don't see any risk for us. The drivers do know a lot about the handling of the car, but they haven't got detailed information on the technology. Furthermore, there is an effective solution for these kinds of problems: to develop faster than your competitors."

"In this case, the transferred knowledge will be already outdated before it can be used. Therefore, Juan Pablo and Ralf Schumacher will continue to develop the FW26 until the 2004 season is over. Concerning our developments for the 2005 season, the work of our test drivers Marc Gen? and Antonio Pizzonia will be even more important than it has been in the past."

"Now, the driver market is accelerating. Many drivers' contracts contain a so-called performance clause, meaning that the may, or must, stay depending on the results achieved by team and drivers. We have always made clear that we are keen on signing the best drivers available. Should one of these drivers be a German this would be a welcome bonus but it isn't a must, as Formula One is a global sport and BMW is a global company. We are convinced that the coming season will see two competitive drivers behind the wheel of two similarly competitive WilliamsF1 BMW Formula One cars."

-williams-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Antonio Pizzonia , Frank Williams , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams