Claire Williams: ‘Our future is with Mercedes’

Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has poured cold water on speculation the team are set to switch to Renault power for 2021.

Williams have been rumoured to be negotiating a switch back to Renault power from 2021 onwards, having last used the French manufacturer’s engines in 2013.

However, Claire Williams says all this speculation is merely that, and that a fresh Mercedes deal is far more likely to happen.

“There’s a lot of speculation about Williams at the moment,” said Williams when asked about the rumours.

“We’re talking to Mercedes as you probably expect. Those conversations are going well, and we hope to be able to conclude a new partnership with them going into 2021. They’ve been a fantastic partner of ours, they’ve been very supportive, everyone knows that Toto [Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal] started his Formula 1 career at Williams. As such, we have a great relationship with him, and I would like that relationship to continue.”

“I know now what you’re going to write if I say this, but we’ve always had a great history with Renault, but our future is with Mercedes.”

Unlike the other Mercedes customer team Racing Point, Williams run their own in-house built gearbox along with the Merc power unit, but Claire explained that the chance of sourcing more parts from external suppliers is likely to increase: “We went through a process of evaluation last year.”

“We’re doing the same this year off the back of what happened to us at testing, to work out what we should make versus buy. It’s an important piece of work that we concluded. We will now make our decisions around what we will be doing ourselves versus outsourcing, whether that be with Mercedes or alternative suppliers.”

“But it’s all just dependent on the capacity that we have at Williams and what we do best, versus what other people may do better. But obviously 2021 is going to bring a shift with what and how teams can collaborate anyway. Obviously we want to dial down those collaborations at Williams – we’re an independent constructor.”

“I think everybody knows my position on collaborations, and I believe that teams should make and design and manufacture their race cars themselves, certainly design the race cars themselves, and I’d like to see those technical regulations coming out with a greater bias that supports independent constructors like how our business model is.”

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Thomas Maher

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