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Sports History: Williams 2001

A review of Williams’ 2001 campaign, plus other news.

Well, Williams had quite a banner year. BMW, having returned to F1 with the Williams team in 2000 surprised a lot of people and were competitive from the start.

In 2000, the BMW engine was deliberately kept at lower revs to avoid failure. This year, the engine was given no such limits, and while BMW did see their fair share of failure, they also produced the most powerful engine on the grid.

Ralf Schumacher was the dominant driver for the first half of the season, collecting a handful of wins, and putting in consistently good performances. He had his share of bad luck, such as stop-go penalties, but overall, Ralf proved that Michael isn’t a fluke.

Juan Pablo Montoya started out the season as a rookie from CART, and I, along with a lot of other people, figured he’d be another Andretti rather than a Villeneuve. How wrong we were. After a shaky start that saw him wreck the car a lot, most strikingly at Monaco, crashing in the same place twice, he started to mature. The catalyst was the Canadian Grand Prix. Montoya had a very stupid accident on the heels of getting into a brawl with Jacques Villeneuve. I don’t know what the Williams team did, but it seems to have worked. Juan has calmed down, and by the end of the season was easily the better of the two Williams drivers.

Juan was robbed on a couple of occasions. In Brazil, after pulling a dramatic passing move on Michael Schumacher he stormed off into the lead, only to tagged in the rear by Verstappen. In Germany Juan disappeared off into the lead, only for his engine to expire. Ralf’s comment that Juan wasn’t being careful with the engine doesn’t hold any logic, since I seriously doubt backing off about 0.5 seconds a lap around Hockenheim would do much to save the engine.

2001 was a good year for Williams, and if things continue as they did this year, Williams could easily be the number two team in Formula One next year, and both Juan and Ralf could easily challenge for the title. But nothing is a given in F1, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Other News

The Prost team has entered receivership. It would appear that the only way to save the team will be if a big sponsor comes along. Given the teams performances this year that would seem extremely unlikely, but hey! If all my readers club together we could probably scrape together a few bucks, get a Formula One Update logo on the car:)

Seriously, it’s a shame the Professor’s on track ability hasn’t translated off it. Alain Prost was a great driver, but alas he is a mediocre team owner. With Toyota here, I was looking forward to a 24 car field, but alas it’s looking decidedly dark for the Prost team right now
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With the Prost team struggling, I find it even more amazing that Minardi are still around!

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