The 'Silly Season' sets in

With Michael Schumacher's recent announcement to stay put taking the gloss off the very top of the driver market and rumours of Felipe Massa (see separate story - link below) replacing Rubens Barrichello proving to be wide of the mark, for now, attention has inevitably turned to McLaren and Williams

The 'Silly Season' sets in

Traditionally, doubt over David Coulthard's continued tenure of a McLaren seat - the Scot is now in his eighth season with the team - is fashionable gossip at this time of year but we believe that his seat is safe. Team boss Ron Dennis said at Nurburgring that the team would not be looking outside its contracted drivers for its 2004 line-up.

Jacques Villeneuve's future looks less secure and manager Craig Pollock has been speaking to his old contacts at Williams. If Villeneuve does stay with the BAR-Honda squad it is believed that he will do so at vastly reduced money, and any opening at Renault was dependent on the team failing to retain Jarno Trulli, which is highly unlikely.

Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya are both under contract to Williams next year, but so was Alessandro Zanardi for 2000...

We are not suggesting that Williams has a will to dispense with either driver and even if it did, freeing itself of contractual obligations put in place by managers Willi Weber and Julian Jakobi would not be simple or cheap.

Frank Williams has said, however, that the team door would always be open to talk to the 1997 world champion. Commenting on his former driver at Nurburgring, Williams referred to his career "being in a downward spiral that would be difficult but not impossible to arrest with, I suspect, a change of environment."

Logically though, any discussions with Pollock are more likely to have involved 2005.

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