Williams expects to maintain form in France

Key figures within the BMW WilliamsF1 Team are confident that the team can repeat its one-two result at the Nurburgring last weekend in Sunday's forthcoming French Grand Prix

Williams expects to maintain form in France

BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen and Williams chief operations engineer Sam Michael both believe that the team's intensive development programme is paying dividends and that the FW25 has become a competitive package capable of challenging Ferrari and McLaren for the rest of the season.

"The last three races have shown that we have accomplished a significant leap in development," said Theissen. "It shows that we have closed the gap and we are in the fight for the championship.

"In Monaco the demand was for mechanical grip, in Montreal it was mainly performance and good brakes, and we managed to be right at the front at the Nurburgring where aerodynamic performance is of the essence. We've closed the gap to the leaders so we rate our chances for the French Grand Prix as well.

Michael agrees: "After showing how competitive we were at the Nurburgring, we are looking forward to going to Magny-Cours. We have improved our package significantly during the course of the year through an aggressive development programme and that seems to be paying off."

European Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher answered his critics with a win last weekend, although he benefited from the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren, which led until its Mercedes engine blew. But the German now lies third in the drivers' points table and is expecting another good showing in France.

"After my victory at the Nurburgring I am going to Magny-Cours with much more confidence," he said. "In the last few races we have proved that we can compete with the Ferraris and McLarens and, if you can do well on a circuit like the Nurburgring, you should be able to do well elsewhere. Our expectations are obviously high, but we know we still have work to do to maintain our current competitiveness.

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