Ralf: 'Williams not a top team'

New Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher has heavily criticised his former employers Williams - deriding the quality of the team and dismissing its chances of fighting for the title this season

Ralf: 'Williams not a top team'

Schumacher spent six years with Williams, longer than any other driver in the team's history, but speaking to German newspaper Kolner Stadt Anzeiger, he claimed that the nine-time constructors' championship winning squad was no longer in the top flight and was flattered by its engine supplier BMW.

"I did not know I was driving for a top team," said Schumacher. "It did not seem that way in the six years I was there.

"The high expectation levels were totally unrealistic. Apart from the engine there was not much quality there and the optimism could not be justified. We wanted to become world champions and not only win races.

"Already this year I don't think that (the Williams) is a car that can win the championship."

Schumacher told autosport.com on Thursday that his new team Toyota would start 2005 "at a very similar level to BAR and Williams."

Although Ralf won six races during his time with Williams, the relationship was notoriously fractious in later years - with the team and driver often publicly criticising each other's performances, and disharmony also evident between Schumacher and team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya.

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