The third most successful F1 team of all time Williams will use Mercedes gearboxes from next year even though they have resisted the idea for years because they wanted to keep their identity and independence.
Williams has been using Mercedes engines since the start of the 2014 hybrid turbo era, which they used in 2014 and 2015 to finish third in the constructors’ standings, but the last three seasons ended in last place culminating in the Williams family’s withdrawal from the F1 team in 2020.
The new owners of Dorlington Capital, who took over the team in August last year, made a logical strategic decision about using Mercedes gearboxes and other permitted components like hydraulics to cut costs and spend money on other areas where they can find more performance.
The Williams family was also aware of this, but due to pride in their rich heritage, they did not want to buy gearboxes from Mercedes, such as the former Force India team.
“The increased scope of the partnership with Mercedes Williams will allow them to implement a more efficient design and manufacturing process which will allow them to focus their resources more effectively on other areas of performance,” the statement said.
“Williams will continue to design and manufacture other chassis parts.”
New team boss Simon Roberts, who replaced Claire Williams in that position, is delighted with this decision and believes it will help them regain the competitiveness they have lacked for the past three years.
“I’m thrilled that our great relationship with Mercedes will be extended beyond the engine itself,” Roberts said.
“Williams is an independent team, but Formula 1 is always evolving and we as a team need to be agile enough to react to the current climate to put the team in the best possible position on the track.”
From 2021, Mercedes will be the only one to have three customers on the track because McLaren will also be using their powertrains, for the first time since 2014, but will still be making their own gearboxes.
Mercedes has overtaken Williams this year in the number of Formula 1 victories (115-114), but Williams still has two constructor titles more (9-7).