Tuesday August 14th, 2001
Williams will be hunting for points in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, but next month's race in Belgium could be more rewarding, according to BMW Motorsport boss Gerhard Berger.
"The Hungaroring is supposed to be the last venue this year with a circuit layout that does not suit our package," the former Formula One driver said. "The outcome there is the more downforce you have, the better your lap times are. This means Budapest is an extreme contrast to Hockenheim or Spa, where we will go with higher expectations," the Austrian added.
Germany's Ralf Schumacher won his home Grand Prix at Hockenheim last month, his third victory of the season for Williams, while Colombian team mate Juan Pablo Montoya started on pole and led for much of the race. The BMW-powered car boasts the fastest straight line speed in Formula One at present and is expected to stand out at remaining fast circuits like Spa and Monza.
Ralf is third in the championship and could well end the season second overall behind his older brother Michael, whose fourth title looks assured. Ironically, Williams have the best record of any team in Hungary, winning the race seven times since 1986.
"It is our task to develop a package good enough to score points under every circumstance," added Berger. "This also includes finishing races regularly with both cars. An improvement in reliability is our main target for the season's final sprint."
Montoya's engine blew at Hockenheim after he suffered an agonisingly long pit stop due to a refuelling rig malfunction. The Colombian has failed to finish nine of his 12 races so far this season but has led repeatedly and taken two second places and a fourth in those he has completed.
Ralf Schumacher has finished six times in all. Berger said tyres would provide a decisive factor in Hungary, with Williams's partner Michelin racing at the circuit for the first time.
Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier warned that the need for grip at a tight and twisty track might mean that tyre compounds "offer performance at the expense of durability."
"Last season a two stop strategy appeared to be the best solution for this event," he said. "This is a circuit at which overtaking is much more difficult than usual and so grid positions will play a great part in determining the final result."
Published at 11:22:49 GMT