Williams: Technical challenges key to F1
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, February 19th 2009, 17:01 GMT|
Formula One must not abandon its core technical challenge in the move to reduce costs over the next few years, reckons Frank Williams.
With the teams and the FIA looking at ways to bring budgets under control to help see the sport through the worldwide economic crisis, Williams has expressed his belief that any rule changes should not rob the sport of the factors that have made it so popular.
In particular, he believes the idea of a standard specification car would be going too far - because it could lead to the unintended consequence of driving the best brains away from F1.
"We still want the very best drivers in the world racing the fastest single-seater cars in an F1 world championship," Williams said in an exclusive interview with this week's Autosport.
"If it's to be spec cars, why not just go and buy some IndyCars? Then I think you'd find all the talent and interest would pretty quickly drift away.
"There has to be a greater challenge than that, but nothing like as expensive as it has been. Max (Mosley) was absolutely right in bringing us down from 10 engines a race weekend, to two to one – totally right.
"And everything done on this new drive the teams are all with him. We're all very mindful of having our businesses stay in business. There is some disagreement over the precise menu of changes in some areas, total agreement in others. But please, not spec cars."
He added: "F1 attracts all these extraordinary people because of what it is. It features all these brilliant brains. People such as Ron Dennis, Max himself, Mario Theissen. In this building (the Williams factory) there are some very clever people, in all the F1 buildings. It's a fantastic collection of individuals that makes the world go around. I'd hate for that to be shattered.
"Because if the racing, financial and technical challenges aren't there such people will find something else more challenging. At the same time, the last people who want to drive themselves out of business are the team principals, so I'm sure it can all be achieved."
Williams has said he supports the initiatives being put in place by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and the FIA to help reduce costs.
And although he concedes life in F1 at the moment is a 'challenge' for his team, he is optimistic about the future of his outfit.
He says there are no doubts that sponsors currently committed to his team, including the under-fire banking group RBS, will fulfil their commitments.
"A contract is a contract," he explained. "Our existing contracts are okay, as with us and RBS. We have a major new contract (Philips) with one of our existing partners that you will see on the car soon.
"In the summer we had a very good run and I thought 'Crickey this is going well' and a lot of it goes forwards for the next few years. But now the market's pretty much moribund. It's very hard."
This week's Autosport carries the full-length interview with Frank Williams, where he talks about the shape of F1, the state of his team and how he can see a bright future amid the current financial uncertainty.