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Williams confirms Mercedes engines – so who’s using what engine in 2014?
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 May 2013   |  12:11 pm GMT  |  213 comments

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.

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What is happening to McLaren?

They had the fastest car in 2012 and there were no rule changes. Now they are super slow. Did Paddy Lowe deleted all the 2012 car designs (sorry for creating conspiracy here)? hahaha…

One thing is for sure, Nikki Lauda has been getting the people that he wanted to build a DREAM TEAM.

I am not sure if Mercedes suppose to have an upper hand. Renault and Ferrari had yet to show what they’ve got. We simply have to be patient and wait for Melbourne race 2014.


James, can you explain why marussia uses ferrari engines but it 4 seconds of the ferrari team?

Stephen Taylor

How about VW making engines under the Bugatti name.


My personal jury is still out in regards to Honda… Yes, the company does have some pedigree in F1, but these days, Honda has become more of an every-day average type of automotive company for the masses – just like Toyota.


We need to remember that these are not just engines, they are power units. The old Honda turbos were great because of their engine management. This will be even more so with the new power units. The best and most innovative controls will win. They will charge batteries when braking, but from the engine overrunning, not from engine braking. With the electric compounded turbo, we will see some interesting solutions in the power unit management.


James, what ever happen to the new cosworth (prodrive) engine?


Mercedes is by far the most superior engine in normal aspirated specifications. But, for them the Turbo spec. philosophy is alien… The Engine Manufacturers who have excelled in Turbo era and weathered the rule changes will stand to benefit due to the previous data they possess.

Hence, Ferrari, Honda and Renault stand to excel in the first three years of its introduction.

Having said that, how different the current Technology is to its preceding era will be interesting to study.

We could be looking at a completely new animal as compared to its previous existence, in such an environment there is no team who can attain supremacy, yes, there will be teething issues but the engine that will reign supreme is the one which has large resource base, bearing that in mind Mercedes and Ferrari look to fight for that mantle having resource allocates in both engine as well as the chassis sides of it.


Bearing in mind ofc that Merc does not build/design/etc its own engines…


I would argue that, as they own the company that does, they sort of do make their own engines, it is just separate affiliate, like AMG, Smart Cars and indeed AMG Mercedes F1. I’m not sure if they fall under Mercedes Benz, the F1 team or directly under Daimler. It’s not like Judd making the Lotus engines for Indycar last year, basically outsourcing the production.


Hi James!

As a Lewis Hamilton fan, I would like to have an insight into the “braking” balance Lewis is struggling with at Mercedes.

Sky Sports F1 has an article about it here:

And I could find another similar situation in another season at the official F1 site:

So, that is an important part of testing at friday’s that we are not used to hear about. We know that the teams work on upgrades to make the car goes faster, but there is this other side of the tests (eg.: driver trying to get used with the car, and extract the most of it), that in the LH case can be even more important right now than upgrades. As he needs to be on top of his game to beat his first “opponent”: his team mate.



That’s a good suggestion and thanks for the link. I hope James follows up on your idea.


Why, Why, Why, have we got to have a wholesale change in engine specification when so much emphasis is on cost savings?


What’s better carry on with 8 year old v8s by next year, if you wanna talk about cost saving, what about the 100s of people employed sitting in wind tunnels 24/7 making there front wings 0.1 % more efficient then the others,


That is the fundamental problem with trying to reduce costs. Make the regulations stable, engines and gearboxes have to last longer etc and in theory the teams should spend less money. In reality they spend just as much money, just the incremental gains are less per

pound/euro spent.


Why is the consensus so srongly that the Mercedes engine will be the one to have in 2014?

None of them have hit the track yet, so I’m just wondering if this is based on anything tangible?


BS and Superstition.


Looks like Lotus’ good performance MAY prevent them from getting the engines for 2014.As mentioned by other posters Renault/Merc/Ferrari will not be keen to make life difficult for their factory teams.

Perhaps that is why James Allison left…



There was talk a few years ago about McLaren wanting to develop its own engines the way Ferrari do. Has that idea gone away in McLaren or is it still something they’re looking at?




Wasn’t that going to be with the PURE group?


Next announcement, Susie Wolff gets second seat after Pastor’s check bounces!


James, are RBR likely to share more info with TR now that they are so closely aligned? What are the benefits of them not getting the team higher up the midfield?


I don’t think the performance of STR bothers them much. They bought the team when customer chassis were allowed, so having four cars represented value for money and an extra vote in meetings. Now they are basically moving Red Bull billboards and young driver developers/evaluators. They would much rather spend the money on the main team, and wouldn’t mind selling STR.


Do you not recall the Williams complaint of TR using RBR tech / aero / cars back at the time around when Virgin joined F1? Customer cars I think it was called.

Sharing of these data would certainly be a huge risk for other teams to complain again.


You might think that but I couldn’t possibly comment


I see what you did there! 😉


It seems accepted that Mercedes will have the best engine next year. Is this just based on the fact they sorted the best KERS in 2009? Or is there any other information/rumours around?



Do you think that the current testing regulations favour those teams who produce their own engines?

For instance, isn’t McLaren as non engine supplier at a disadvantage when it comes to switching their engine supplier in so far as under the current regulations it is unable to give Honda their 2013 or 2014 chassis to test their engine for a 2015 introduction?

The incumbent engine suppliers will be testing their own engines in races from the start of 2014.


I asked this question in Monaco

Seems that the dynamic test rigs the engine people have now are so good they can cover a lot

The advantage of being number 1 customer is that you can work with the engine builder on packaging and make a better aerodynamic shap than if they just send you a finished engine in a box


Good deal for Williams, hopefully the start of some good times

Michael Powell

Very encouraging to see so many engine suppliers getting involved. It’s a developmental challenge more than for advertising, even Renault have got little from publicity despite powering the last three championship winners.

As the size of the engine, it’s power and consumption decreases, the challenge to produce more from the electric motor (or KERS as it is being oddly called) is increasing.

This will be the continuing pattern for road cars too as internal combustion gives was to hybrid power and these in turn give way to purely electric power with batteries or fuel cells.

It’s genuinely a development area that manufacturers have to involve themselves in whether they come racing or not, so why not join the club?



Im an Alfisti, its such a shame Alfa are not involved anymore in F1 , maybe in the future as well as Maserati… For sure now we are going into small engined V6`s Italian Engineers are clicking their fingers with excitement . I know Paolo and Rory have got the engine and aero experience to be at the top of f1 for 2014 . Lets wait and see what Mercedes have promised also Renault.


Fiat wouldn’t want to challenge the Ferrari brand in F1, though re-branding the customer engines may have its advantages.


James, while Merc and Renault are making all the deals and noises about 2014 units, Ferrari seem to be surprisingly quiet. They have neither released a picture or have their engines man, Luca Marmorini talk about it. Renault had Alain in Monaco, Merc hosted journos to take a look but no such thing from Ferrari. Are they waiting for Monza or are they behind in the development compared to Merc and Renault?


James, any thoughts on reports that Ford is now considering a return to F1?


Weren’t BMW supposedly interested last week?

A lot of talk like this st the moment. Makes F1 look like the place to be

Stephen Taylor

No they are not.


The work of Mr E perhaps?


Quite keen for the turbos, surely I’ll be visiting a Grand Prix next year, which will be my 2nd GP ever that I went to, which is kind of pathetic lol.


Perhaps, as a fallout, we could be seeing Kubica in a Williams next season.


Mercedes have always built very powerful and in particular very torquey engines. However as many have said before- their racing engines historically have been built on the limit of reliability so that’s the big question. However such technically complex packages will be questionable for all teams in 2014.

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Lotus were the Renault team before- I suppose crashgate changed all that. Redbull “grass-cut” them to take works status. I think Renault have to be careful as on one hand they are branding “Infinity” as a more prestigous brand of Nissan. (Not Renault.) You would think it would want its name on its championship winning team. Either way Lotus too have ambitious plans to be champions by 2015, so there’s a big question mark on how long they sign with Renault for if there is uncertainty on supply/ support. Im thinking they will sign for 2 years till 2015 & if they are still kicking ( given their financial troubles) then switch to Honda for 2016.

I can’t see how Honda can committ solely to Mclaren long term and even if this were the case- wouldn’t both parties be limiting themselves with technical development comparisons with other teams. Lotus may beat Mckaren by that time and for any engine supplier that would be a nice draw card.


I know change next year in some form is inevitable but this will effectively be the sixth different engine williams has used in the last ten years. This fact is a really sad indication of the team Williams has become.

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