Grapevine: Williams Engine Deadline Looms

Williams have denied stories that they have already told engine suppliers BMW their six-year relationship is over, after paddock rumours linked the team to a deal with Cosworth for 2006 and then Toyota from 2007

Grapevine: Williams Engine Deadline Looms

The team's relationship with BMW has broken down since the German manufacturer decided in June to purchase Sauber and they are expected to end their relationship this year, one season early.

But when asked if Williams have already told BMW they are no longer required, Williams technical director Sam Michael said: "No, we haven't told them that, that is not true."

But BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen, who requested a decision from Williams on the future of their relationship by the end of next week, has already dropped a big hint that his company will no longer continue supplying the team.

In a Friday press conference, Theissen was asked how development was progressing with Sauber ahead of their link-up next year but admitted the company is currently determined to work towards leaving Williams on a high.

He said: "We are not where we wanted to be with our partners at the moment but I hope we can improve and have some good results because we want to finish this six-year partnership on a high, not a low."

Toyota told Autosport-Atlas two weeks ago that they had been approached by Williams and could agree a long-term deal but do not have capacity to supply the team next season, having already committed to supply Jordan.

The Jordan deal is still not done and there could be a turn-around if a long-term deal is struck between Toyota and Williams but, if not, it is likely Cosworth will be brought in for next season.

They are already working on a V8 engine but currently have no customer for it after the cash-strapped Minardi team committed to running a rev-limited V10 unit for the next two seasons.

But Minardi boss Paul Stoddart believes Cosworth would be the perfect partner for Williams and said: "I am sure Frank will announce it when he announces it but I hope he does go with Cosworth.

"I would be happy for both parties, Cosworth deserve it and Frank would have an excellent engine partner, because I know how good they are, and they are going to do a really good job next year.

"They have a very competitive V8 for next year, they have a fantastic tradition in V8s and I am sure it will be a good one, but we are committed to running a V10 in 2006 and 2007. That is done and I am happy with that."

Williams remain tight lipped about their engine plans beyond the end of the season and although Michael admitted a decision will have to come soon he added: "There will be nothing in the next couple of days."

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