Williams and Mercedes-Benz join forces for 2014
Rumours surrounding the deal had steadily built up prior to the announcement. The new partnership will also mean that Williams will part ways with Renault for the second time after they announced the rekindling of their iconic partnership for 2012.
Williams have had a long and successful relationship with Renault, the French firm first powered their cars in 1989 and left the squad at the end of 1997. The first stint with the team was hugely successful and powered the team to four drivers and five constructors titles.
After a number of years switching between suppliers, from the likes of BMW to Cosworth, the iconic partnership returned for the 2012 season, that will now come to an end at the end of this season.
Mercedes have a strong background in engine supplying and currently supply the likes of McLaren, Force India alongside their works Mercedes F1 Team. With the 2014 regulations bringing back the Turbo engine, the engine market has been buzzing with activity. After weeks of speculation, the deal has now been announced.
Speaking about the partnership, Williams F1 Team Founder and Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said in a statement released to the press: “I’m delighted to announce our new association with Mercedes-Benz for the 2014 Formula One season and beyond. Mercedes-Benz has been one of the sport’s most successful engine suppliers and we believe that they will have an extremely competitive engine package.”
He later thanked Renault for their work and dedication to the team, adding “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Renault for their continued hard work since we renewed our engine partnership at the beginning of the 2012 season. We have enjoyed a strong relationship that has resulted in much success over the years, including powering us to winning ways once again last year at the Spanish Grand Prix.”
His daughter Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, of the Williams F1 Team, also commented on the news: “The announcement of this partnership is exciting news for Williams. Securing the right engine supply partnership is a key milestone in the implementation of our strategy for long term success.”
She also admitted that it is encouraging to make sign such a deal so early on in the season, so the team can prepare and get to work on 2014: “We are also pleased to conclude this agreement early in the season and we very much look forward to working with Mercedes AMG HPP in developing our 2014 race car.”
Toto Wolff, Executive Directer of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, said that he feels Williams are the perfect long term partner for the engine supplier: “The proud heritage of Williams and the company’s commitment to technological excellence make it a perfect long-term partner for Mercedes-Benz under the new powertrain regulations.”
He also revealed that Mercedes are in a “win-win” situation due to now having three works teams signed up to be supplied with their engines in the long term, the number has decreased thanks to McLaren’s move to Honda power for 2015.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.