Williams has confirmed the recent speculation that it will switch from Renault to Mercedes engines next season when the new 1.6 litre hybrid turbo engines come in.
Mercedes believe that they have a class leading engine and powertrain and Williams believe that this will set them up well for improving their long term competitiveness. The Mercedes is believed to also be slightly cheaper than the Renault unit. There is a lot of unhappiness among the teams outside the top four about the cost of the new hybrid turbo engines. The manufacturers have committed vast sums to develop them and want a return on that, but teams feel that the price is too high.
Renault is also unhappy that it does not get enough promotional benefit from supplying a third of the grid with engines, including the three times champions Red Bull Racing and wants a better return on its investment.
So now the picture is clearer on which team is using which engine, here is our take on it:
Red Bull – Renault
Red Bull is the works Renault team, getting a free supply of engines and working closely with title sponsor Infiniti, the luxury brand which is owned by Nissan/Renault
Ferrari – Ferrari The team is the only one with the luxury of having its own engine department on site, a few metres from the chassis department.
McLaren – Mercedes (2014), Honda (from 2015) McLaren will look to Honda to provide turbo power as they did in the later 1980s. But they’ve not made a benchmark F1 engine for a while.
Mercedes – Mercedes The works team has its engine facility around 20 miles away from the chassis factory. Like the three teams above it is in a position to specify exactly how it wants the engine from a packaging point of view.
Lotus – Renault? The Lotus team grew out of the former Renault team at Enstone. The Renault engines have served them well thus far, but the price is high. A confirmation of their engine will be due soon as the deals are all being done now. Renault Sport boss Jean Michel Jalinier made an interesting comment recently, which suggested that Renault would prefer to supply only three teams, “We hope to confirm activities in the coming weeks. We have stated that we would be comfortable with three teams and five if there was a gap in the market, but this upper bracket is not our ideal case scenario.”
Force India – Mercedes Recently announced, the customer team that punches above its weight is keeping faith with Mercedes power.
Williams – Mercedes Announced today, the first time that the former champions have used Mercedes engines.
Sauber – Ferrari Sauber’s link with Ferrari goes back many years and they are politically aligned within F1 as well. However with money tight, there has been talk of a possible subsidised supply of Hondas for the team from 2015 onwards.
Toro Rosso – Renault Recently announced, Red Bull’s sister team returns to Renault, which aligns it with the Red Bull team. They previously had a Renault contract before Red Bull did a swap deal for Ferrari units.
Caterham – Renault Caterham has a strategic partnership with Renault in sports car manufacturing projects outside of F1. Former Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul is now team principal at Caterham and provides strong links.
Marussia – Ferrari Likely to be announced soon and not unconnected to the presence of Ferrari development driver Jules Bianchi in the team. Marussia is the only team that had to change engines from its current supplier as Cosworth will not be making a hybrid turbo unit.