Williams quest for winning car 30 Jul 2004
Ferrari has set the pace throughout the 2004 Formula One season with a string of dominant performances, with Michael Schumacher taking victory in no fewer than 11 of the first 12 races. But for the Italian team's rivals, the season is still far from over.
Williams is one of several teams to have suffered from a disappointing year thus far. The Grove based outfit currently stands fourth in the Constructors' Championship, with just 47 points against Ferrari's 184. But although the team knows it has effectively no chance of victory in either the Drivers' or Constructors' Championships, it certainly has not given up - and the target is a dramatic improvement in form in the six remaining races.
"It's very simple," says Frank Williams, Team Principal, "in order to win you need a car in which you can win in. Our goal has to be to supply a car that is in a position to do so. The best driver in the world can only win when he has a car capable of doing so."
With both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya leaving Williams at the end of the season the task of mounting a serious Championship challenge next year will fall to new signing Mark Webber and his (yet to be confirmed) team-mate. The team is also keen to point out that this year's Williams FW26 has made progress over its predecessors. In Hockenheim last weekend Juan Pablo Montoya was almost two seconds a lap faster than last year's qualifying time, 1:13.668 minutes compared to 1:15.167. And his race pace was also quicker - by nearly half a second a lap.
The problem, of course, is that although Williams has made progress, Ferrari, BAR and Renault have all succeeded in doing better. Williams is now developing the car further for the Hungarian Grand Prix and the rest of the season through static work and short shakedown runs allowed under the provisions of the testing ban.