Thursday, June 6, 2013

Williams F1 Surprises Signing with Mercedes-Benz for 2014

Photo Credit: Daimler AG

With the McLaren Formula 1 team planning a switch to Honda in 2015, Mercedes-Benz had been left with the possibility of one fewer customer of their new turbocharged engine. It didn't take long for the German automaker to ink a deal with a new team.

In what could be viewed as a stunning move, Williams F1 Team decided to abandon their association with Renault in favour of Mercedes-Benz. Accepting the power of Mercedes-Benz's future turbocharged, 1.6 liter V6 engine, Williams F1 Team wants to ring in a more consistently competitive package for the 2014 season. Team founder Sir Frank Williams is particularly pleased inking the new deal. “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". On the side of the engine supplier, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG HPP Andy Cowell is greets the partnership saying,   "Williams is one of the sport’s iconic names and we are very excited to be working together towards a successful future under the new regulations".

The formulation of Williams' new engine partnership is significant for Mercedes-Benz but also news-making in regards to Renault. Williams F1 Team established a dynasty with Renault in the mid-1990s. In fourth out of six years from 1992 to 1997, Williams-Renault race cars were handled by the Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion. When Williams F1 Team reunited with Renault in 2012, winning magic between the two companies returned briefly. Driver Pastor Maldonado drove his Williams-Renault from the pole position to victory at last year's Spanish Grand Prix. That performance has not been repeated since that 2012 win. As a matter of fact, the Williams F1 Team is pointless in the 2013 constructors' points after six races.

The press announcement did not go without acknowledging the outgoing engine supplier for the Williams F1 Team. Sir Frank Williams paid tribute to the history with Renault. "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.” said Williams. In response to Williams F1 Team's announcement, Renault Sport F1 promptly issued a statement expressing an amicable parting. "We would like to thank Williams for the warmth it has extended to Renault over the last two years and wish the team the very best for the future. Williams and Renault have a long history together and quickly recaptured its winning spirit in the early days of the rekindled partnership with victory in Spain 2012. We will continue to actively work with the team until the Brazilian Grand Prix in November to end the second incarnation of the partnership with results that do justice to its reputation." said Jean-Michel Jalinier, President of Renault Sport F1.

Starting in 2014, the agreement between Williams F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz is said to be a long-term deal.


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