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Williams launch radical challenger

FW26
The FW26 features a radical twin-keeled front end

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VALENCIA, Spain -- Formula One team BMW Williams launched their new car on Monday and set themselves the target of challenging Ferrari's F1 supremacy.

The FW26, unveiled at Spain's Ricardo Torno circuit along with a new BMW engine, features a radical twin-keeled front end aimed at improving the car's aerodynamic performance.

Team boss Frank Williams said he would be disappointed if his team failed to improve on last year's second place in the constructors' championship.

"Our aspirations are probably higher than they were a year ago," said Williams whose team retains he 2003 lineup of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya.

"We have acknowledged our shortcomings of 2003. In 2004 we must be competitive from the off if we are to realize our potential."

Williams haven't won an F1 title since Jacques Villeneuve was world champion in 1997.

Montoya, who won two races last season, has already agreed to move to McLaren in 2005, but the Colombian said he was fully committed to BMW Williams in the meantime.

"I'm 100 percent committed as a Williams driver," said Montoya.

Realistic chance

"We have a realistic chance of winning the championships and neither they nor I want to throw it away. I want to win, we're here to win. Simple. And I will do whatever I can."

Schumacher, who also won twice in 2003, agreed that the team should be genuine contenders.

"We expect to be very competitive this year," said the German.

"Last year we never thought about the championship and then all of a sudden we were going for it. I think now we all know what it takes, we learned from last year.

"It's fair to say that yes, it might be the season where we have the best ever possibility of winning it."

BMW Williams also announced that Nelson Piquet junior, the 18-year-old son of the former three-time world champion, would get a second test drive before the start of the season.

"He'll get a second run in the car," said technical director Patrick Head.

"He did a very good job and I'm more than convinced that he will have a very strong Formula One future."


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