Williams Drivers Will be Allowed to Race Each Other

Williams-BMW drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will be allowed the freedom to fight each other for the World Championship after their team bosses said they will not impose team orders on the pair.

Williams Drivers Will be Allowed to Race Each Other

Williams-BMW drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will be allowed the freedom to fight each other for the World Championship after their team bosses said they will not impose team orders on the pair.

Schumacher and Montoya have pushed themselves and Williams into the title frame after taking 64 points from the last four races between them - and the team are now just three points behind World Champions Ferrari.

When Williams allowed two drivers to go head-to-head in 1986, the team famously threw away the Drivers' Championship as McLaren driver Alain Prost topped the Championship standings.

But Williams technical director Patrick Head insists the memory of that year, when Briton Nigel Mansell and Brazilian Nelson Piquet's fought each other, will not stop Schumacher and Montoya from being allowed to go wheel-to-wheel in 2003.

"We do remember 1986," said Head. "But we are not in a position according to our contracts and we certainly made no attempts to negotiate a position where we can give preference to one driver over the other.

"The only situation where that arises is when one driver can win the Championship and the other driver can't and then the driver that can't is in a position where he has to help the other driver. That situation is not with us."

Ferrari were criticised for focussing their efforts on World Champion Michael Schumacher early last season once it became apparent that his teammate Rubens Barrichello was too far away from the sharp end of the Championship.

The Italian giants infuriated their famous Tifosi fans when they asked Barrichello to hand victory to Schumacher in the Austrian Grand Prix last year because the German was in a better position in the title race. The move resulted in the banning of team orders and although they are still possible to implement through more subtle means Head, who was disgusted with Ferrari's Austrian actions, said he would never use them in the first place.

"We have a different philosophy to Ferrari," said Head. "Ours is similar to McLaren's and that allowed past Championships when McLaren and Williams have been dominant to be interesting as opposed to being as dull like last year.

"Personally our opinion is that the Championship and motor racing is more important than a single company, but Ferrari don't hold that view. I am sure it will be a hard-fought battle all the way to the end of the year."

World Champion Schumacher is now just eight points ahead of McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen with just six races to go but it is the on-form Williams pair who he is looking over his shoulder for.

His Williams-driving brother Ralf is closing in on the top spot and is now in third place with a deficit of just 11 points. Montoya is a further six points behind in fourth.

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