Mercedes will supply Williams with transferrable components, including gearboxes, from 2022 onwards; Williams, who were sold last year, hoping to move back up the F1 grid next season, when big rule change comes in
Williams have announced they have expanded their technical relationship with Mercedes from 2022, in a significant step for Formula 1’s struggling former world champions.
Mercedes have supplied Williams with engines since the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, but next year’s new deal, in line with F1’s next big rule change, will also include transferrable components – including gearboxes.
The Grove-based team, no longer run by the Williams family after being sold to Dorilton Capital last year, have traditionally always designed their own gearboxes in-house but have endured a painful past few seasons, only scoring one point in 2019 and 2020 combined.
Williams say the closer technical partnership – which mimics the business model of may of its rival teams – will enable them “to implement a more efficient design and manufacturing process in-house in the long-term”, while also allowing them to “focus resources more effectively in other performance areas”.
They will continue to design and manufacture other chassis parts internally.
“Williams is an independent team, but Formula 1 is always evolving, and as a team we must be agile to react to the current climate in order to put the team in the best position to be competitive on track,” said team principal Simon Roberts, who took over after Dorilton’s purchase.
“This long-term agreement with Mercedes is a positive step and forms part of our strategic objectives for the future whilst we will still retain our design and manufacturing capabilities in-house.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the expanded technical cooperation made sense for both sides.
“For Williams, it makes sense to acquire the integrated powertrain after running our power units since 2014 and for our team, it makes sense in terms of economies of scale to supply another team under the new rules,” said the Austrian.
“This is a project we have been discussing with Williams for some time and I am glad we have been able to bring this extension to fruition.”
Williams driver George Russell also has a long-term contract with Mercedes and stood in for Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain last month when the seven times world champion tested positive for Covid-19.
Mercedes will by supplying engines to Williams, McLaren and Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) this season, alongside their works team that has won the last seven championships.