Williams out to make up for Montreal

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The Independent Online

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the self-styled "auto racing capital of the world" - has tended to favour Ferrari at Williams's expense in the past, and 2004 shows little sign of reversing the trend.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the self-styled "auto racing capital of the world" - has tended to favour Ferrari at Williams's expense in the past, and 2004 shows little sign of reversing the trend.

When the race was held here last September (and Schumacher won), it signalled the end to BMW-Williams's championship hopes, as Juan Pablo Montoya was penalised for colliding with Rubens Barrichello. The Colombian has always blamed officialdom for denying him his diminishing title shot after what he believed was a racing incident (it was), but team principal Sir Frank Williams is penitent here after the team's screw-up over brake ducts saw Montoya and Ralf Schumacher thrown out of fifth and second places in Montreal last week.

Williams said: "I'm not dying to talk about it [the error], but obviously it is a subject that has to come up. How does that sort of thing happen? Well, you can say the responsibility stops with me at the end of the day. But we're a large organisation, there's a chain of events that has occurred, which I'm not going to dissect here. But we were very clumsy in that particular area, with that part. I hope you all believe there's no implication whatsoever of seeking an aerodynamic advantage with that by cheating. We made a mistake, we paid a heavy price, and we have no quarrel with that."

Williams believes that his cars' best result of the season (albeit a temporary one) was due to the characteristics of the track suiting the characteristics of his car, rather than a genuine improvement. Ralf Schumacher was not so sure about the latter point, but added: "We all were disappointed, especially the mechanics. It was a result we desperately were looking for, but that's the way it is. In my time at Williams we have never had a problem, and it was just an unfortunate incident.

"We have never and will never cheat, and it was not our intention. It doesn't change the fact we had a great race, I think everybody saw that. The car fitted very well to Montreal. We can have another good one here, but it is certainly a bit more difficult. Obviously, yes, we didn't get any points, but hopefully we'll catch some here."

Meanwhile, his world champion sibling Michael continues his progress towards a seventh title. "We didn't anticipate to win as many races as we have," he said, sounding disarmingly but agreeably surprised. "Going back to January testing, we were very pessimistic on this season. We thought it was going to be a very, very tough one; it was not going to be the way it has gone. But we have a beautiful car."

Ferrari have dominated seven of the eight events held so far and show every sign of doing the same here. When practice began yesterday morning Michael Schumacher and his team-mate Barrichello set the pace ahead of Anthony Davidson, as BAR Honda continue to look like their most convincing opponent.

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