Williams plays down talk of Renault B-team future

Williams has played down suggestions it could become a Renault B-team in Formula 1, with it determined to maintain its independence for the long term.

Williams plays down talk of Renault B-team future

The Grove-based outfit is undergoing a transformation under new owners Dorilton Capital as it bids to move up the grid.

Despite forging a close technical alliance with Mercedes, which will include the use of customer gearboxes and hydraulics for the first time from 2022, recent speculation has linked the team to an alliance with Renault.

That comes off the back of a push by new Renault CEO Luca de Meo to improve its success in F1, and potentially find benefits from forging closer ties with a partner team.

However, Williams CEO Jost Capito says that while the team is open to the idea of technical alliances – and indeed will always need an engine supply from a manufacturer – he does not want it to give up any of its independence.

Jost Capito, CEO, Williams

Jost Capito, CEO, Williams

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Speaking about the potential for a future manufacturer to enter F1 with Williams, Capito said: “If we would improve and can improve the results, we will be more attractive for OEMs coming in, but our clear objective is to stay an independent team and not being bought by any other team or by an OEM.

“Williams has always been independent and not what you see with these A and B teams. For us, a B team is a team that doesn't have the independent ownership, or has some ownership from an OEM or from another Formula 1 team. And on that definition we don't want to be a B team.

“We want to be the A team, because racing is our core business and should stay our core business and independent from a manufacturer who decides to be in or out. That would challenge our existence.”

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While the Renault rumours suggested Williams could be in the frame for a tie-up from 2022, Capito is clear that his outfit will respect the contract it has with Mercedes and has no intention of changing partner yet.

“We have a good relationship with Mercedes, and we have a contract that goes still a couple of years,” he said. “And we respect this contract, because we are very happy with the relationship.

“I don't see in the future that teams will do their own engines, so you'll always need an engine. And then you can discuss, is a gearbox part of that?

“The engines and the gearboxes are made together by the manufacturer, when you look at Mercedes, for example. And that's where we came to the conclusion, it makes sense to have the whole power train from '22.

“But we still see that as being independent. Independent is when you can choose the partners you want to work with.”

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