Frank Williams Q&A

BMW WilliamsF1 Team has signed a deal with the world's biggest-selling beer brand, Budweiser. While the size of the sticker on the car might not be huge, the significance of one of America's biggest companies getting involved in F1 is. Another feather in Williams' cap is that it clinched the deal from under the nose of Ferrari, whom Budweiser is understood to have approached first. At the sponsorship announcement, team patron Sir Frank Williams gave his views on the deal, the state of play in the title race and this weekend's British Grand Prix to Charles Bradley

Frank Williams Q&A



We offered them a damn good deal, but I wouldn't say a cheap deal. These are world class marketing people, not cheapskates. I hope they felt that they were getting strong value for money.



Yes. There is still a lot of business out there, but you've got to work hard to find it and then it might even take you two years to get it. We have the advantage of being right at the front. To be fair to Stoddart and Eddie and all the other boys at the back, it is harder for them. People are attracted to success.



It's been hard work. Not by me, by the mechanics and all those guys.



Not to turn it around. But to beat Ferrari consistently, we knew it would be hard to do that because they clearly have a magnificent machine, and by that I mean the whole company. It's a brilliantly strong competitor. Ferrari has raised the bar in Formula 1 considerably, but we can do that."



It was, and the last four races have been very good for the company. But they have occurred on relatively straightforward, low downforce-requirement circuits. The tough circuits are Barcelona, Silverstone, Melbourne and Suzuka.



Absolutely, yes. I don't mean to say 'Oh God, we'll be lapped twice'. We may well run at the front, but this is a tough circuit. Often Silverstone sends a team home with some hard lessons.



Well they will want to lash the back. The consensus is that much will rely on tyre performance.



If we win fair and square, then it means that our car is as good as anybody's.



If we win at Silverstone, then we can start thinking that maybe we can win the title. But in the drivers' standings, Ralf is 11 points behind and he would have to win the last six races with Michael second each time to take the title. That's a tall order. And remember that the old McLaren was very quick in the Barcelona test last week too.



It's very difficult to control the drivers, to say 'Please slow down and allow your team-mate to come through'. If you do that when your two drivers and main competitor are involved in a three-way fight you can be sure that your competitor will slip through while one of your drivers is being a gentleman to the other. It's very difficult unless you are way in the lead.



Very. It's important that it looks good on television and that it's also good for the Silverstone fans.



It is very expensive. You could get in at Goodwood last week for 30 quid. I know there wasn't much racing, but most of the people there were enjoying themselves.



It's very tough for them to make money. Bernie would say, I think, that the TV audience if far more important. He's right in a way, because all of our money comes from television viewers through advertising. It's a tough situation. When you go to a sponsor these days you don't need much of a presentation, you want to tell them how much of a share you get of the television.



It's a long-term contract, and they [Octagon] pay a very high fee and the money goes to FOM [Formula One Management] and a very modest amount trickles back to the teams, which is then divided by 10. All the money that Bernie retains goes to his companies, but that's what the contract says.



Part of that is because the racing isn't that good, although I'm not a spectator.



If I wasn't involved, I'd still go and watch the races, yes.



Ferrari put on the back of the grid at every race!



Yes, it's emotionally important. Especially for all the people who make our cars. Several hundred of our employees will be there, plus their wives and girlfriends. Of course, the really clever ones will take both!

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