Rocked by news of Juan-Pablo Montoya’s defection to McLaren in 2005, Williams-BMW might also lose Ralf Schumacher if they don’t pay him R97 million a year. But who says they’d want to?

Rocked by news of Juan-Pablo Montoya’s defection to McLaren in 2005, Williams-BMW might also lose Ralf Schumacher if they don’t pay him R97 million a year. But who says they’d want to?


According to reports in the German media, contract negotiations between respective representatives of Schumacher and team boss Frank Williams have reached an impasse.


At present the German is one of the highest paid drivers in F1. Schumacher is probably the second-highest paid driver on the grid since Jacques Villeneuve left F1, sources say.


It's well documented that Schumacher was paid more than team-mate Montoya and that probably played a major part in the Colombian's decision to move to McLaren-Mercedes for 2005.


But F1 observers have said Williams-BMW, which was only prepared to pay Ralf R58 million a year, wouldn’t be averse to replacing both its drivers at the end of 2004 season.


"My goal for 2005 is to have a better contract than the current one," Schumacher told . "I am happy with Williams-BMW, but there are other strong teams too."


The German was apparently also upset with the number of personal sponsors he would be allowed under a new deal: "These are internal matters that I cannot discuss. I am not totally satisfied and that's why it's still going on. It's not about the money but there are things that still have to be cleared."


By contrast, a source close to Williams-BMW told the paper that Sir Williams' "patience was at an end". With Jenson Button rumoured to be heading back to the Grove-based team in 2005, and with “WilliamsF1 already (publicly) eyeing up new talent, Ralf would be well advised to think long and hard about his options”.