Analysis: Williams Choose Cosworth

Williams are expected to announce a one-year deal with Cosworth for engine supply in 2006, Autosport-Atlas has learned

Analysis: Williams Choose Cosworth

The Grove-based team, who will lose engine partner BMW at the end of this season, will race with the Cosworth V8 engines in 2006 but are expected to link up with Toyota in 2007.

Williams and Cosworth would not comment on the deal, however sources close to the two companies have confirmed to Autosport-Atlas the deal has been made.

Furthermore, sources said the Williams chiefs have already told their staff of their plans last week. A public announcement is expected to be made in the next few days, prior to the deadline of July 31st that BMW had given Williams when the German company decided to buy out the Sauber team.

The deal between Williams and Cosworth means the engine maker would develop a Formula One V8 engine after all, after the project had been stalled due to lack of potential clients.

Minardi, with an engine deal for next year, have already said they will race V10 engines with restricted revs due to budget constraints.

Initially, Cosworth's plan had been to develop a V8 engine for Red Bull Racing, but when Dietrich Mateschitz's team signed a deal with Ferrari, the V8 project was halted.

Cosworth's Head of F1 Race Engineering Simon Corbyn told Autosport-Atlas in Germany that if his company gets the green light to continue with the V8 project with immediate effect, an engine would not run in a car before November.

"Some engines that have been run are effectively V8s in a V10 block, but there would be no point in running a hybrid at this stage," he said. "The first engine that we run will be the actual V8."

Days of Glory

Cosworth, purchased last year by Champ Car shareholder Kevin Kalkhoven from Ford, has significant experience with V8 engines, starting with the successful DFV that made its debut at Zandvoort in 1967 and went on to be the most successful engine in F1 history, winning 155 races before it succumbed to the turbo era in 1983.

However, the final derivative of the DFV revved to about 11,500rpm, whereas a current V8 would rev more than 20,000rpm, making it an entirely different proposition. Cosworth acknowledges this, but even so, its V8 experience is hardly a disadvantage either.

Part of the problem for Williams vis a vis sponsors is that Cosworth has recently been associated with back-of-the-grid teams, although the latest series 12 V10 has performed well enough for Red Bull since it first appeared at the aborted Indianapolis meeting.

"This race saw the two 12-series engines get to the end of two competitive Grands Prix," Corbyn said at Hockenheim on Sunday night. "Both engines are lifed-out in terms of race running and obviously it's good to get both cars in the top 10.

"David Coulthard finished right on the tail of a Renault, Ferrari and Toyota and scored two more points, while Christian Klien ran well, passed Rubens Barrichello twice and had some complimentary things to say about the way that the engine had helped him."

Corbyn reiterates that, irrespective of any Williams V8 deal, Cosworth would continue to supply Minardi with a V10 in 2006.

"We have a contract to supply them with that engine next season and what we need to know is the exact definition of the FIA equivalency rule," he said.

"We need to get on with validating the Minardi engines for next season by doing some endurance testing to whatever spec' we are going to run. But the decision on the V8 won't influence the Minardi deal for next season, but obviously might for the following year."

Turning Japanese

Once BMW announced it had bought Sauber, Williams were widely expected to partner with one Japanese engine or another - the team first linked to Honda, with whom they raced successfully in the 1980s, and later they were tied with Toyota.

BAR Honda's Nick Fry said in Germany that initial talks with Williams about engine supply had not progressed any further in the last couple of weeks, while Toyota's John Howett admitted that their talks with Willliams are ongoing.

"We have had an approach from them," Howett said. "There is some informal discussion moving forward. But I think we have no intentional capability to supply next year.

"It is dangerous to say 'never', but I think it is fundamentally too late now to actually establish the production volumes we need to supply that kind of demand."

As far as the continued supply of Toyota engines to Jordan was concerned, Howett said: "We are committed to supply Jordan. We are still finalising contractual details and to some extent the ball is in Jordan's court."

The word is that Toyota had made a private commitment to supply the Jordan team for two seasons but because of the current situation with the Silverstone-based team, Toyota want financial guarantees before committing to the 2006 manufacturing programme.

It is understood that Jordan's signing up to Bernie Ecclestone's extended Concorde Agreement last week might not be unrelated to this. It is not inconceivable, for example, that the team might be able to draw an advance of the TV money in order to be able to provide the necessary guarantees to Toyota.

In any event, an imminent extension of the team's Toyota deal is widely anticipated.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams
Author Tony Dodgins
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