Monza: Williams technical director Patrick Head has suggested that Ferrari’s victory in the Italian Grand Prix was a one-off success that will not be repeated in the final two races of the season.
The Italian giants confidently predicted they will be strong in the last two events of the year, in the US and Japan, in the next month but Head believes they have talked up their chances as the championship comes to a climax. “We are not making excuses that we were beaten today but it was a close run thing,” said head. “I don’t think it is necessarily a pointer to what is going to happen at Indy or Suzuka.”
Williams have struck a run of form in the second half of the season after Juan Pablo Montoya set the ball rolling by claiming their first win of the season in Monaco at the start of June.
Their lead driver Montoya is just three points adrift in the championship race after he finished second behind Ferrari’s championship-leading driver Michael Schumacher at Monza.
His appearance on the podium alongside Schumacher and third-placed Ferrari driver Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was his eighth in succession. But head knows that Williams will have to work hard in testing this week before flying out to the US to ensure Ferrari do not continue their return to form in the next race at Indianapolis.
“I think all the teams in the championship will be making improvements between each of the final two races,” said Head. “We have got a big Silverstone test and then a Jerez test after Indy. “This is a high speed track with high speed corners and the last circuit like that was Silverstone and they won that race so it didn’t surprise me. We always thought they would be very competitive here. But we shall have to wait and see what happens in the next two.”
Montoya also believes that the final two races will suit the Williams package better and insisted the return of Schumacher to the top step of the podium does not mean Ferrari will prove unbeatable again. “They beat us here but I believe in the last two races, road courses, there are no more circuits. This is very low downforce,” Montoya said.
“I think in high downforce we should be strong again and McLaren and Renault should be very strong, and that could make the difference. I think I came out of here with the least loss possible. If I couldn’t win, I had to try and finish second and I did. I only lost two points to Michael and I’m three points behind him and it’s not over.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari refused to rule out challenging the results of races they lost earlier this season, as the tyre controversy showed no sign of blowing over Monday even after the Italian team’s home victory at Monza. Ferrari caused a furore last month, days after ceding the overall top spot in the constructors’ race, when they accused new leaders Williams and others of using illegal Michelin tyres.