Motor Racing: Mansell to retire if there is no Williams deal

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The Independent Online
NIGEL MANSELL revealed here yesterday that it will be 'Williams or nothing' for him next season, ruling out a return to Ferrari as one of his options.

Britain's Formula One world champion then accepted the challenge of partnering Alain Prost in 1993, saying he was 'a better and more courageous racer' than France's former world champion.

Mansell was 48 hours into his reign, 'comfortable' in the euphoria of his success. The messages of congratulations were still coming in.

Mansell has made it clear he wishes to stay with Williams-Renault, but he is still awaiting a decision from the team's managing director, Frank Williams.

'I want to defend the championship with Williams, who have the potential to win the championship again next season. But Frank has the answers, he can make it work. I don't know,' Mansell said.

'If I don't have the opportunity, equal opportunity to succeed, why bother? There's nothing better than stopping at the top. It's Williams or nothing.

'To be fair to Ferrari, I'm not playing around with them. I don't want to give up something I have helped create here. It's not Alain Prost or Ayrton Senna who's got Williams there, it's Williams themselves and their current drivers.

'It's frustrating for me, but think how my team-mate Riccardo Patrese feels. I understand he's been told to make his own arrangements for next season. I don't think there's any doubt the other driver is Prost.

'It's common knowledge that Ayrton has been talking to Williams, but hopefully, in the next 48 to 72 hours, things will be finalised.' Mansell pointed to 'commercial elements' Williams had to consider but insisted salary and Prost were not the stumbling blocks. He dismissed as 'absolutely astonishing' rumours that he was demanding dollars 23m ( pounds 12m).

'On a list of 10 issues, money would be tenth. I'm not interested in other drivers,' he said. 'I know I am a far better and more courageous racer than Alain will ever be if he's in Formula One for another 10 years. Alain will be more of a chauffeur, making the car work for him. It is harder to develop it.

'I would not have to swallow any pride to accept Alain in the team. He's got more to learn because he doesn't realise how much better I am than when we were together at Ferrari two years ago.

'Technically, because of the language problem, I couldn't compete there. At Williams I know everyone and I have nothing to prove. If anything goes on, they'll come running to me. I know him very well and there's no way he can do at Williams what he did at Ferrari.

'I'm not going to make any of the running with him. I'm prepared to do the job and I'll be extremely professional, but it's not up to me or anyone in the team to change, it's up to him. I'm not the one who was fired by Ferrari. His reputation has not done him proud. He left the most historically famous team in motor racing in the most catastrophic way.

'But he's had a year's holiday, his motivation is high and all credit to him for picking the right drive at the right time. He knows people in good places.

'If things are not sorted out for me there's no problem. At least I'm established and won the championship. I'm worldly enough to understand I have to respect whatever decision Williams make. It's out of my hands.'

Ambition fulfilled, page 27

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