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Williams could return to Renault engines in 2020

The Williams F1 team is looking to secure a deal to use Renault engines in 2020, according to reports in the European media.

The British-based privateer team has been using Mercedes-Benz power units since 2014. It had close links with the German manufacturer, whose team principal Toto Wolff was formerly an investor in Williams.

But the team has been struggling in recent seasons, and so far in 2019 has failed to score a single point in the first nine races of the current season. It’s a very long way since the team’s nine F1 championships the last of which was 22 years ago. The last time that the team won a race was in 2012 when Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix.

Williams’ evident lack of power during races despite running the same race-winning engine as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas appears to be down to their determination to use key components of their own construction, such as in the drivetrain and gearbox.

With the team having recently parted company with its former technical director Pat Frye, it appears that the team is seeking a fresh new direction to help it fight its way back from a fallow few years.

Germany’s AutoBild magazine has reported this week that the team is actively pursuing a change to Renault power units next year as a way of shaking things up.

Renault’s factory squad is currently in fifth place in the constructors’ championship. But ahead of them by some margin in the standings is McLaren which also used Renault power unit. An impressive double points finish for the team last weekend in Austria has established McLaren as the ‘best of the rest’ in the midfield, behind the Big Three teams at the top.

But if Williams were to switch camps, the reports suggest that McLaren might consider a move in the opposite direction and dump their current power units for the latest Mercedes technology. McLaren and Mercedes have a long history together in the sport. The Silver Arrows were investors in McLaren for a decade and a half until returning to the series in their own right in 2010 with the takeover of Brawn GP.

At this point there appears little substance to the paddock gossip, and none of the parties involved have made any comments on the reports so far. Which just goes to show that silly season is alive and well in the engine market just as it is with the drivers…

  • Source: Autobild
  • Photocredit: F1 Gameplay
Frank van Nunen

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