Berger welcomes challenge of BMW F1 car

VIENNA: BMW motorsport boss Gerhard Berger says he would welcome any decision by the German carmaker to build their own Formula One car after the current engine contract with Williams expires. 

The Austrian is currently mulling over his own future and he told Austria’s ORF television on Sunday that he expected to decide in the next four to six weeks, before the season starts in Australia in March. 

“It depends on what is going to happen after 2004,” said the 43-year-old, whose contract expires in August. 

“If BMW decides to build its own Formula One car that would of course be a brilliant challenge and I would sit straight down to negotiate with BMW.” 

BMW ended a 12-year break and returned to Formula One in 2000 as an engine supplier after signing a five-year agreement with British-based Williams. 

Berger, who has said in the past that he is keen to spend more time with his family, felt a continuation of BMW’s existing arrangement would be less exciting. 

“We have already built the best F1 engine and so our job is 90 percent done. So that would mean a challenge is lacking,” said the former grand prix winner. 

“I’m not doing this job for the money but because motor sport is my life.” 

Williams finished last season as runners-up to Ferrari but with only one race win to their credit, despite the BMW engine being considered the most powerful on the grid. 

Mario Theissen, who works alongside Berger as a BMW motorsport director, said at the end of last season that the carmaker was weighing up options for 2005 and beyond, including a revised deal with Williams. 

“There are all kinds of options, from leaving F1 to doing our own car. The board is not in favour of leaving F1,” Theissen was quoted as saying last month by Britain’s Autosport magazine. – Reuters 

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