For some time it has been rumoured Williams is to return to running Renault engines from next season. Now this rumor has been confirmed. With Williams and Renault announced a contract to supply engines from next season, Formula 1 will see the return of one of the most prolific technical associations in its history.
The contract will unite the two entities for the next two seasons (two years of the current engine regulations), with an option for 2014 and following years when the V6 turbo comes into force.
Williams and Renault, is the return of the binomial magic of the 1990s, specifically the years 1989-1997, which saw the world titles by Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997). Following the official start of Renault end of 1997 the team never found the path to world title and resumed only episodically during the BMW years, with success.
The team found that Renault is in fact far from the left 14 years ago. Williams was at the height of the F1 with Renault of course, the best engine of the plateau, but also with exceptional technical staff led by Patrick Head and Adrian Newey especially great.
More than the departure of Renault, is that of Newey in early 1997 that precipitated the fall of Williams. His departure was never filled and his successors have alternated between conservatism and audacity lame poorly controlled. Today, Williams is a stable second half of the grid, dropped by sponsors, and struggling to take some more pips.
The partnership with Renault he will reverse the trend? Nothing is less certain. As can be seen this year with Team Lotus, go to Cosworth, Renault does not necessarily equate to leap forward.
Sir Frank Williams stated:
“We are delighted and excited by our new partnership with Renault. This reunites the F1 team with a leading car manufacturer and complements our new relationship with Jaguar. At the same time, we are grateful to Cosworth: they have been a fair and reliable partner both on and off the track for the past two years and we look forward to working with them across our business in the future.
Our previous relationship with Renault was one of the most successful inWilliams’ history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past. We must look to the future and continue to re-build our on-track reputation, which I am hopeful that today’s announcement will help us to do.”