Williams and Renault reunite to try and relight the championship fire

Posted on July 4, 2011

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Williams have signed up to race with Renault engines from next season, re-creating a once championship winning partnership.

Can Williams rediscover the magic with Renault? Credit: Williams

It’s a bold move from an outfit which has been sliding ever further back down the grid. At times this year, the once great Williams team has almost appeared to be in the clutches of Team Lotus – who only entered the sport last year.

It’s a shame. There was a lot of talk in the pre-season about how the Williams had an aggressive innovative design. And in Rubens Barrichello, they have unparalleled experience and a brilliant development driver. But the package has simply not delivered.

Announcing this move days before  the British Grand Prix is the latest statement of intent. The move follows the floating of the Williams company earlier this year to raise finance and, I’m sure, the hope is confidence will breed fresh sponsorship – and cash.

Sir Frank Williams said today: “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 re-build our on-track reputation, which I am hopeful that today’s announcement will help us to do.”

Many would love to see Williams move back up the grid, not least to give Sir Frank one last hurrah before what must soon surely be inevitable retirement.

In other developments, both HRT and Virgin Racing have made significant announcements. HRT has been bought out by Spanish investment firm Thesan Capital, following  a significant reshuffle in senior management last week. An injection of capital will, if nothing else, keep the team alive.

And Virgin have signed up to use McLaren technology to develop the car, including wind tunnel usage and access to staff. This follows the dumping of Nick Wirth and pure computer design of the car. It’s not worked and Virgin have been pretty hopeless so far. It’s a big statement of intent from the minnows who turned up last year with a fuel tank which was too small and appeared slower even than HRT this year.

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Posted in: Formula One, News