Le Grand Retour
Paul Ricard 2018
French Grand Prix
Williams-Renault back in business
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Jul 2011   |  6:56 pm GMT  |  92 comments

It was good to see today that Williams has joined forces with Renault again, recreating a partnership which dominated F1 racing in the 1990s. Together they won four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ world titles and 63 race victories.

The circumstances are rather different this time, in that Williams joins a list of customers including Red Bull Racing, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus. Back in the 1990s it was for a the works team, with Ligier and then Benetton coming along in 1995 to also get the engine.

The deal is for 2012 and 2013 for the current V8 engines, which won last year’s world championship with Red Bull. But as Williams’ chairman Adam Parr points out, “We are already working on an extension for the new engine formula which arrives in 2014.”

This is backed up by Renault Sport chairman Bernard Rey’s view that they enter the partnership,

“With a view to continuing after the introduction of the new, energy efficient, turbocharged V6 engines in 2014.”

The deal will make Renault the largest supplier of engines in F1, ahead of Cosworth, Ferrari and Mercedes. It means that Cosworth goes down to just two teams for next year; Virgin and HRT. And with the announcement of their technical partnership with McLaren that may well see Virgin becoming another Mercedes customer.

Parr notes in his comments that the reason for the split with Cosworth was, “We had an understanding with Cosworth that continuing beyond this year was dependent on the longer-term prospects with the new engine. So, this was foreseen.”

In other words this is as much about positioning and technical stability at the point where the new breed of F1 engines comes in for the 2014 season, as it is about the next two years.

This deal has been in the offing for some time and really accelerated in recent weeks when the picture became clearer about what direction F1 engines were taking in the future.

It’s interesting that these strategic plays are coming in now.

And as far as Williams are concerned, with a new technical team and a new engine partnership, they cannot be accused of sitting idle.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks


This is just a Williams bad time. I’m sure that williams will be the most important F1 team again. Long life Frank.



It would be very interesting for me, and hopefully many others, to get your views on the relative merits of the current Cosworth F1 engine, particularly as you have access to the views of leading F1 engineers.

I suspect that views of the Cosworth engine have been skewed by the teams they have supplied since returning in 2010 – would those teams really have performed significantly better if they had used any other available engine?


I think Cosworth has done pretty well. The power figures are comparable to the other engines, there’s not really much to choose between engines these days in F1, they are all pretty close. Where they are perhaps a little behind is on things like the Exhaust Blown Diffuser technology, but that’s on its way out now. Key question as far as Cosworth are concerned is, will they have enough customers to justify building a 2014 turbo engine?


The Red number 5 at Silverstone. Doesnt get any better than that and thats what springs straight to mind when I heard the news.

Those days have gone but the memory of it lasts a life time!!


Nigel Mansell.

Adrian Newey Jr

James – Have there been any discussions to your knowledge about who would/could replace Rubens?


The comments for this article illustrate (for me at least) the shortcomings of the engine restrictions in F1. We, the fans, are passionate about engines. Engines are something we care about. Current F1 cars are aerodynamic masterpieces, but I think most of us would rather see a massive reduction in aerodynamic expenditures and a return to the engine wars of old (with a “green” twist of course).



From reading one of your replies, I just have to ask and hope you’ll reply. Do you really think Rubens still has what it takes to be on top in F1? I mean, all I see and read from Rubens is complaining about the car, tyres, team, etc.. It’s never really his fault. I mean, I used to love the guy but lately ha has been, I hate to feel this way, more of an annoyance for me.


Yes he’s still very quick and good technically


james, will the team be called ‘ Williams Renault’ like the old days or will they just stick with williams?


No, it will be AT+T Williams Renault, is my understanding


http://www.attwilliamsrenault.com but i see this domain listed on ebay for sale US$1.5 million & a fair bit of talk on net about next years name. As its a dot com, williams will have to negotiate a price wont they ?


Hi James,

After backing the FIA over FOTA for cheap Cosworths last time around, will this bring Williams closer to the teams come 2013?



Its always good to see old companies coming back to F1 🙂


I think this is a good move for Williams (long term) but I’m not expecting any miracles in the coming years. With the regs as they are engines are very close in performance these days so it’s really all about aero. We all know that one team winning everything (Red Bull) are powered by the same engine as another team that rarely makes Q2 (Team Lotus).

Hopefully this deal will really pay off for Williams in 2014 when V6 Turbos make a return.


Great news for French manufacturer Renault but not so good news for BRITISH engine manufacturer Cosworth. If this had happened to a French or German engine manufacturer, the French or German F1 fans wouldn’t be congratulating the British engine company for taking away vital engineering business. God knows, we don’t make enough things in Britain, so how comes this is good news, James??


I think that’s Renault-Lotus James.

Don’t give the (at least at this point) grand illusionists more credence than they deserve. Let’s at least wait until Lotus are building GP cars and engines before pretending that they are an F1 force. Or Indy for that matter.

Not bad advertising though, although they will need to deliver soon if not to appear a hollow shell.

The proposed cars do look fantastic – but will they ever hit the road ?


Ron Dennis launched the McLaren road car operation with a view to make some money and to emulate and surpassing his nemesis – Ferrari.

I’m sure Ron hasn’t forgotten that Mr Ferrari always dismissed teams without their own engines as mere “garagists”

Putting economic issues to one side, Ron must surely have a strong desire to go a step further and have his own McLaren engine in the car ?

This would put McLaren on the same basis as Ferrari, further boost the image of the road cars and help to justify the cost.

James, do you know if this is under active consderation in Woking ?


“Garagists” is quite derogatory description for some F1 teams when you consider that some at least have a rich F1 history.

How interesting would F1 be with just a few “non-garagists” filling up the grid with more than 2 cars to showboat a car production business?


Mr Ferrari fully intended his comment to be derogatory to the British “Garagists” which, of course, included some of the greatest names in F1 history : Tyrell, Lotus, Brabham ( later run by Bernie ), Williams and McLaren as well as March ( run by Max Moseley ).

This was all a bit hypocritical :

Shortly before his death, Mr Ferrari pursuaded John Barnard to move from McLaren and as a result, some of their most successful F1 cars were designed by the Englishman.

Amazingly, while the engines were built in Maranello, the chassis were designed and built in Guildford !


There’s a lot of talk about it, but it’s a huge investment. Let’s wait and see


Great to see the partnership happen, but I doubt it’ll do anything to improve William’s current position till they get decent aero going 🙂 James, an off topic question slightly…do you think Bruno Senna has any chance of getting into F1? I’m just dying to see the Senna name back in F1. I understand there is lots of talent and Senna is inexperienced, but if Petrov and crash-kid Kobayashi can improve, I think if he’s given a chance he might be decent.

I was completely disappointed when they brought Heidfeld in, I like Heidfeld but I felt this year was a perfect year to take a risk…and its clearly panned out that way as Renault are nowhere. I don’t hear any noise of Renault being impressed or offering Senna a drive. If they aren’t offering him a drive why even wait around? By the way James, I hope you can add a thumbs up/ thumbs down feature for posts so readers can rate comments, show agreement/disagreement and such. Some comments here are brilliant/hilarious and I just want to be able to give a thumbs up.


Bring on the classic Williams-Renault blue, yellow and white livery! They’d be mad to not bring that back now… can’t wait

Marcin Bochra

Fonally good move for mu favourite team.

They need two good passionate racers, leave Rubens for next year but start looking for someone more energetic and young.

I wish I could see Kubica (if recovered) in the team… pure racers together going for top positions.


James, why is it that teams do not make their own engines? (Like Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz or old Renault days before they sold their team to Genii).

Even McLaren at the moment while making their own road cars don’t seem to build their own engines even though they are badged as McLaren. As far as I know the engines of MP4-12Cs are made in partnership with some company and are built by them. And a while ago, Martin Witmarsh said the F1 operation won’t be looking into making their own engines post-2014 or 2015, when their Mercedes deal expires.

Are engines really really expensive to make? Or they are just too difficult for teams to manufacture? It would be a whole lot easier for teams to design, manufacture and manage their own engines rather than rely on someone else which can cause unstability sometimes. Like for instance, some engine supplier pulls out, others not willing to make/supply them, etc. What IF at one point the entire grid is dependent on one single engine supplier when no other company are willing to make them?


Merc bought a British company that made engines and after many years supplying engines, they then moved into full team ownership. Same as BMW, same as Renault previously. But these are road car manufacturers buying exiting teams. For an F1 team to suddenly decide to produce their own engines would require massive investment and significant increase in personnel for little gain. An engine manufacturer means you can get the expertise you need for less cost, may allow a substantial increase in revenue and exposure from advertising and benefits both companies. Engine makers and teams work very closely and in the netcentric age information sharing is cheap and fast. I doubt whether having 100% ownership of the engine design and production would show noticable gains.


McLarens MP4/12C engine is built by Ricardo Engineering,Sussex.


Cost is the main thing, yes. It’s a decision that needs to be made a long way ahead, as it was with BMW or Mercedes when they came back to F1. Plus you need a lot of expertise. Financially it doesn’t make sense, unless you have a few customers to sell it to, as Merc, Ferrari and Renault do.


Ahhh right. Thanks for the reply James!

Well I imagine McLaren can manage that and stir some interest among the teams, especially those of lower ranks and had been in collaboration with like FIF1, Virgin, etc. Since they intend to be the British Ferrari anyway. I can imagine them buying another engine company at some point in the future and make it into their own engine department for the cars division, and using some of those resources for F1 as well.


Williams Renault – nostalgia.

Hope they’ll bring a new turnaround in 2012.

Would love to see them upfront again.


Hoping to see Williams get to a Podium competitive form. Maybe even a win, next season. But I think a driver change is neccessary, a real top form racer is required. RB a good 2nd driver but you need a guy who can find the extra 4 tenths that are hiding somewhere.


This will be a welcomed move for the fans, no doubt.

James, just wondering, is this purely Williams changing customer engines or is there something more to it?

I think Adam Parr implied there was more to it and since Renault no longer owned the now called LRGP team.

Is there a chance that Williams could become the factory backed team with a view of doing more business in South America (despite their current strong presence there)?


I can’t see Renault wanting to come back as a manufacturer in the near future. They are onto a good thing with LRGP obliged to be called Renault at least until the end of 2012, so Renault get brand awareness in F1 through that as well as through engine supply. There were suggestions that there was more to it on the commercial side. Maybe some technology transfer etc. It’s an iconic brand Williams-Renault and it looks like both parties have realised that and want to build on it for the future


I always thought we might see Jenson back at Williams for one last hurrah before he retires so maybe he’ll head to Grove in a couple of years when his Macca days are over just as Williams find form again. I think Button and Williams will always be a story of unfinished business if we never see him back there again.

That would be nice!


I bet Frank and Patrick are forever regretting the decision not to give Adrian Newey equity in the team…


+1 LOL!

Though I also imagine Adrian would feel pain if he’s @ Williams due to Senna’s death in one of his cars.


He stayed at Williams for a few years after 1994, winning two drivers’ titles and three constructors’ titles with the team. While the Senna connection would likely be in the back of his mind, I doubt it would hinder his capacity as he did quite well after Senna’s death.

Fernando Piccione

Hey James,

I´m a Brazilian fan which wants to see the Williams team back were it belongs , ON the Top.

With that sad, what do you think about Rubens situation on the team ?

I mean , Í dont see any other driver avaliable on the Market with his skills, expirience but, do you think he has waht it gets to lead Williams back to the TOP ?



Yes, he does. But it will take a few years and I don’t think Rubens will have many more years in F1.


a lot of positives coming from the williams camp & its good this time around taking on known factors instead of the unknown.

i’m a little bit shocked at the negatives on pastor, he’s doing alright for a rookie & he did good at monaco where the car plays a lesser part.

as much as we like ruben’s, i’m starting to think its time for him to retire & give someone else a chance. he’s had world championship winning cars & didn’t match up, using shumi as an excuse only goes so far, he had the brawn & didn’t make it happen.

williams needs a fresh fighter, but to the few who meet the level; di-resta or either sauber driver won’t be willing to move on current results.

i read somewhere about kimi buying into a team, maybe williams should put some shares his way to get him long term. while he’s young enough.

Top Tags