Deputy team principal for Williams Martini Racing, Claire Williams feels it would be difficult to make a manufacturer partnership work even with the financial benefits it will bring.
Since securing a long-term engine deal with Mercedes they have had two successive seasons, securing third in the Constructors’ Championship both in 2014 and 2015, becoming the third most successful team on the grid
“I really value the independence that we have, it’s really important to me,” said Claire Williams. “No one can deny having the backing of a manufacturer financially is critical.
“But unless we have a good relationship and understanding and respect of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and boundaries, it would be very difficult to make it work, particularly in a culture like our team.
“I like the structure that we have at the moment, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t appreciate if a manufacturer were to look at us and say ‘we’d like to partner with you’. If those terms were appropriate and worked for both parties then it would springboard us into another sphere.
“But currently, yes we’re only a customer team but we have a great relationship with Mercedes. We work very hard on that relationship to make sure that we’ve cultivated this partnership, it’s as strong as it can be, and we have a long-term relationship with them.
“So at the moment we’re very happy with that and I like the way things are working.”
Williams believe that even without financial backing from a manufacturer they can still fight for a championship.
“Some people have been saying we could never win but look what happened in Silverstone,” she said. “We overtook Mercedes and we led for 20 laps, and it was only really because our car wasn’t strong enough to keep them behind us.
“That wasn’t the power unit it was the car. We have to do a better job on the chassis side and then we can fight for wins and we can fight Mercedes for a championship.
“This is not all about engines in Formula 1 as much as what the paddock says. If we do a better job chassis-wise then of course we can take the fight to them and I 100 per cent believe that.”