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JANUARY 27, 2001

Williams happy with driver friction

TEAM BOSS Sir Frank Williams admitted on Saturday that the friction between Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya would spur Williams up the Formula One grid this year.

Williams, speaking at the BMW-Williams launch at Silverstone, said that the jealousy between his two drivers would give the team a better chance of finishing ahead of Ferrari and McLaren.

"We have got two remarkable drivers and there is no doubt about Montoya's ability," Williams said. "They may not get on but they will both do well. They both want to get first place and they will be jealous of each other but they are wise enough to form a working relationship. I would rather see two equal drivers in a team rather than a number one because that way you have two chances of winning."

"I was very pleasantly surprised by last year and it became apparent as the year went on that we knew what to do to achieve success. This year we want to finish every race with brilliant pit-stops and great strategy and maybe if McLaren and Ferrari fail to finish we can win."

BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger also paid tribute to last year's sensation Jenson Button, and said that he still had a big part to play with the team despite being farmed out to Benetton.

Berger said: "I still see Jenson as part of our driver line-up and many teams would want the three drivers we have. I see a good future for all three of them but we've opted for Juan and we are convinced he's ready."

"I don't think I helped Jenson last year - I just convinced him he was good and I'll do the same with Montoya this year."