Sir Frank Williams has confirmed that his team will use the Cosworth engine next season and is set to announce his driver line up of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg on Monday.
Two F1 related R&D programmes will be carried out there; one into the flywheel energy regeneration system they have been working on for a couple of years now, the other developing a simulator for race and road use. Williams and QSTP will jointly fund the centre and with share commercial revenues. It underlines the assertion I’ve been making for some time that Williams is a team of the future.
Judging from the wording of today’s announcement by Williams, which came out shortly after Williams spoke to Gulf News and let the cat out of the bag, the Williams/Cosworth tie up is also part of this wider technological development programme Williams is working on.
“We’ve finished our contract with Toyota and we’ve moved on to a British engine manufacturer Cosworth with whom we have won many world championships in the past,” Williams told the Gulf News.
“They are 50 miles away from Williams which is very convenient. Besides we also like our independence. We will be not under the influence, not that Toyota ever bossed around, but we’ve just gone a private and independent route.”
Cosworth’s F1 general manager Mark Gallagher said,“Cosworth is delighted to
be renewing our partnership with Williams. We look forward to forging a long-standing
relationship, not only for the supply of competitive Formula One engines, but also in the joint
development of new technologies that have wider application outside of Formula One. ”
The last sentence is the key one. Williams is thinking beyond F1 and you can also see how an international technology company with an F1 team at the heart of it makes Williams a very attractive proposition for a possible sale to a manufacturer or an automotive venture capital firm at some point down the line when Sir Frank decides it is time to stop.
As for the drivers, Williams said that it was time for Nico Rosberg to move on as he had been with the team “quite a long time”.
He hinted that Rosberg’s next move is to a Mercedes powered team,
“Nico is German and Mercedes need at least one German driver to sit before their engine, ” he said. The smart money is still on that team being Brawn, rather than McLaren.