BMW motorsport director - and soon to be the marque's first F1 team principal - Mario Theissen has admitted that he does not expect to beat current grand prix partner WilliamsF1 when hostilities are resumed next season.

BMW and Williams are to go their separate ways at the end of the current campaign, with the German manufacturer having taken a controlling share of the Sauber team and Williams having inked a deal to use Cosworth power, but Theissen insisted that, despite the change in circumstance, he could not see BMW putting one over on its erstwhile partner.

"We will have a team which has never been ahead of Williams due to the limited resources they have had," he explained to Reuters, "And you cannot change that in a few weeks.

"The steps you have to take require time and, if you take on additional staff, then that process will certainly go beyond 2006. If you expand the factory [as BMW intends to do], that will also go beyond 2006, so it is clear that, next year, we will not be in a position to challenge the top teams. To me, it would be only natural if Williams were ahead of us."

Theissen, who also admitted that he was in no position to discuss driver options for next season, insisted that BMW would certainly be attempting to topple the Grove team - and any other ahead of it on the grid - but had its sights focused firmly on the longer term.

"I certainly hope that we will be champions within five years, but I cannot predict it," he said, "We have to become competitive, and then it's about racing. If you win or are beaten, you have to be competitive.

"Obviously, we are trying as hard to beat them, as they try to beat us, but, to me, it doesn't matter too much if it's Williams in front of us, or any other team.

"It will be interesting to see if Cosworth can offer a competitive package and can cover the up-front expenses to design and develop a new engine. They have been backed by a manufacturer, have been part of a manufacturer and have a lot of experience of Formula One engines of all kinds. I think it will be good if they prove successful, because it will mean that not only a big manufacturer can create a competitive engine."



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