Williams and Renault have today announced a ‘long-term’ chassis-engine partnership, that begins next season, thus reviving the legendary alliance between the two companies from 1989-1997.
In that time, the Williams-Renault partnership secured four championships: Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997). The team also secured five constructors’ championships over a period of six seasons.
In the latest agreement, Renault Sport F1 (the F1 division of Renault) will supply Williams with V8 power units – the same used by championship leaders Red Bull – for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
In addition to the supply of engines, the new partnership is thought to include other business and marketing opportunities, with a view to continuing after the introduction of the ‘green’ turbocharged V6 engines in 2014.
The deal means that Renault will now supply four teams on the grid next season: Red Bull, Lotus Renault GP, Team Lotus, and now Williams.
Team Principal Frank Williams is understandably very pleased with the new deal, but also thanked current suppliers Cosworth, who from next season will now only supply Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing.
“We are delighted and excited by our new partnership with Renault,” he said. “This reunites the F1 team with a leading car manufacturer and complements our new relationship with Jaguar. At the same time, we are grateful to Cosworth: they have been a fair and reliable partner both on and off the track for the past two years and we look forward to working with them across our business in the future.
“Our previous relationship with Renault was one of the most successful in Williams' history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past. We must look to the future and continue to re-build our on-track reputation, which I am hopeful that today's announcement will help us to do.”
Bernard Rey, the Renault Sport F1 president, said that recent changes in the technical department and other steps had showed them how determined Williams are to repeat their former successes:
“Renault remains in Formula One to achieve success in a cost efficient way and the partnership with Williams has great potential to add to the results we have notched up over recent years with our other partner teams,” Rey explained. “Williams has recently taken several important steps, both commercially and technically, to update its operations and we feel that this partnership is another important step in its rigorous plan. It reiterates how determined the team is to achieve results, which matches perfectly with our own objectives.
“From 2012 onwards the fact that we will have four partners puts us ahead of other engine manufacturers in terms of market share, but off track it will also enable us to further use Formula One as a marketing platform for our parent company, Renault, to try to bring a bit of this association to our fans and our customers worldwide.
“Of course there's also a great pride in reviving the Williams-Renault name. Together, we produced racing cars that are recognised for their technical innovation and it is still Renault's most successful period in F1 to date. It's a hugely exciting opportunity for both Renault and Williams.”