Claire Williams says Williams is closing in on an extension of its Mercedes power unit partnership rather than a switch to Renault.
Reports surfaced following the Austrian Grand Prix linking Williams with a return to Renault power, having won championships with the French manufacturer in the 1990s and again been supplied by it in 2012 and 2013. However, the deputy team principal has dismissed such a claim, saying the current Mercedes deal is one she wishes to continue with.
“There’s a lot of speculation about Williams at the moment!” Williams said. “I saw the speculation. We aren’t talking to Renault. We’re talking to Mercedes as you probably expect. Those conversations are going well, and we hope to be able to conclude a new partnership with them going into 2021.
“They’ve been a fantastic partner of ours; they’ve been very supportive. Everyone knows that Toto (Wolff, Mercedes director) started his Formula 1 career at Williams. As such, we have a great relationship with him, and I would like that relationship to continue.
“I don’t know why people speculate around future or potential engine partners of ours, except to say maybe it’s a slow news week. But there is. I know now what you’re going to write if I say this, but we’ve always had a great history with Renault, but our future is with Mercedes.”
While Williams says she has looked at which areas of the Mercedes partnership could be strengthened in order to increase competitiveness, she also hopes new regulations in 2021 will make it more important for teams to make components themselves.
“We went through a process of evaluation last year. We’re doing the same this year off the back of what happened to us at testing, to work out what we should make versus buy. It’s an important piece of work that we concluded. We will now make our decisions around what we will be doing ourselves versus outsourcing, whether that be with Mercedes or alternate suppliers.
“It’s all just dependent on the capacity that we have at Williams and what we do best, versus what other people may do better. But obviously 2021 is going to bring a shift with what and how teams can collaborate anyway. Obviously we want to dial down those collaborations at Williams — we’re an independent constructor.
“I think everybody knows my position on collaborations, and I believe that teams should make and design and manufacture their race cars themselves, certainly design the race cars themselves, and I’d like to see those technical regulations coming out with a greater bias that supports independent constructors like how our business model is.”