Renault Sport F1 and Williams F1 has announced a long-term chassis-engine partnership. In the deal, Renault Sport F1 will supply AT&T Williams with its championship-winning V8 power units for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In addition to the supply of its F1 engines, the newly-formed co-operation includes several other exciting opportunities, with a view to continuing after the introduction of new, energy efficient, turbocharged V6 engines in 2014. The partnership is an exciting opportunity for both Renault Sport F1 and AT&T Williams. The original Anglo-French partnership enjoyed a hugely successful association between 1989 and 1997, yielding four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ titles and 63 race wins.
Renault Sport F1 president, Bernard Rey, commented, “Renault remains in Formula One to achieve success in a cost efficient way, and the partnership with Williams has great potential to add to the results we have notched up over recent years with our other partner teams. Williams has recently taken several important steps, both commercially and technically, to update its operations and we feel that this partnership is another important step in its rigorous plan. It reiterates how determined the team is to achieve results, which matches perfectly with our own objectives."
“From 2012 onwards the fact that we will have four partners puts us ahead of other engine manufacturers in terms of market share. Of course there’s also a great pride in reviving the Williams-Renault name. Together, we produced racing cars that are recognized for their technical innovation and it is still Renault’s most successful period in F1 to date. It’s a hugely exciting opportunity for both Renault and Williams.”
Frank Williams, Team Principal of AT&T Williams, added, “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 in Williams’ history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past. We must look to the future and continue to rebuild our on-track reputation, which I am hopeful that today’s announcement will help us to do.”
Williams and Renault launched their first challenger in 1989 with Renault developing a brand new 3.5L normally aspirated V10 engine for the changed engine regulations. In its first year of competition, the partnership won two Grands Prix and laid the foundations for the following year’s car, the FW14, which was to go down in F1 legend as one of the greatest ever chassis-engine packages. So successful, in fact, that three iterations of the chassis were made, including the FW14B that dominated F1 in 1992, winning 10 of the 16 races and powering Nigel Mansell to the championship title as early as the mid-season Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mansell’s was to be the first of the partnership’s four drivers’ titles, the others coming in 1993 (Prost) and then 1996 (Hill) and 1997 (Villeneuve), and five constructors’ titles (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997).
Outside F1, Williams and Renault also collaborated on a touring car project in which Renault Lagunas were developed and raced in the British Touring Car Championship. Again, success came quickly and the partnership won all three Championships in 1997: the Drivers', Manufacturers' and Team Trophies. The partnership also designed and built the iconic Renault Clio Williams, one of the most prized hot-hatches of a generation.