Grapevine: Williams Set to Side with Ecclestone

Speculation that Williams will be the next team to abandon the manufacturers' plans for a breakaway and sign up for Formula One is mounting, with reports claiming that the team are now holding back on giving their full support to the rebel plans

A report in The Times on Monday claimed that although Williams' name had appeared on a document put forward by the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA) last week, which said the teams involved were united in pushing forward with the breakaway series, team boss Frank Williams had subsequently stopped short of putting his signature on a document.

Although this does not mean that Williams will now definitely agree a deal with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, it does indicate that Williams are playing a waiting game to see where their future ambitions are best served.

Williams are in a delicate situation because they need to pay for their Cosworth customer engines next season and they also need a new title sponsor to replace HP. Should Ecclestone guarantee the team an income from the end of 2007, then it would at least give the team some kind of long term stability.

Ecclestone is believed to be offering teams 50 percent more cash than they currently receive if they agree to his package from the start of 2008.

Speaking to The Times, Ecclestone said: "They know what is on the table and they know I mean it. If you sell something at Harrods, it doesn't mean you want to own the store with all the risks and overheads.

"That is what these people in the GPMA want, but the Formula One brand has been running for more than 50 years and we have been running things very well for 30 years, taking the risks and giving them plenty of money. It is up to them to decide if they can do a better job and take that risk."

Williams were unavailable for comment on Monday morning.

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