BMW Boss: No Promise of 2007 Title

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen has denied promising the carmaker's board that their new team would win the Formula One championship in 2007

BMW are taking over Swiss-based Sauber, who have yet to win a race, at the end of the year and ending their six-year partnership with former champions Williams.

Williams technical director Patrick Head told Reuters at the Brazilian Grand Prix that he understood from some BMW directors that Theissen had promised the board the title and that the team would be fully funded through sponsorship.

Theissen rejected that at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.

"Patrick apparently speaks regularly to the individual board members of BMW," he said. "No it's not correct, it's bullshit.

"Be sure I didn't promise anything which would be out of reach."

Theissen said the launch of a BMW team was a big challenge and success would take time: "It takes several years and our board are well aware of the complexity and the competitiveness of Formula One.

"Obviously we want to win but we know it takes a long breath and we are prepared to go the distance like the other teams you see now coming up the ladder."

He said BMW were beefing up the existing operation at Sauber's Hinwil headquarters and planned to take on more than 100 people and expand the factory at the same time.

BMW have so far confirmed only Germany's Nick Heidfeld as a driver for next season.

Canada's Jacques Villeneuve has a contract with Sauber that covers 2006 but Theissen would not be drawn on the former champion's prospects of staying.

Asked whether China could be Villeneuve's last race, he said: "I cannot talk about any driver issue now because I haven't talked to the drivers and I would like to deal with them first before talking in public."

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