Williams to return to Renault power in 2012

2012 F1 season

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011

Williams will re-unite with former engine supplier Renault in 2012.

The team announced the deal to the press just an hour after telling its staff in the team’s factory.

It covers the next two seasons, during which time the V8 engine will be used, and discussions are already underway on 2014 and beyond, when the F1 engine rules will change.

Rubens Barrichello said he hopes to remain with the team next year to drive the new car and engine.

He said: “I was employed by the team to bring them back to the very front. This partnership will make it much easier.”

Barrichello said he had high expectations of Renault’s RS27 V8 engine: “I’ve been following it on the track and it seems very good!”

Patrick Head said that switching to Renault would remove any doubt about the performance of their engine, as they would be using the same unit as world championship leaders Red Bull.

Williams previously used Renault engines between 1989 and 1997, in which time they won five constructors’ titles and their drivers won the championship on four occasions.

Frank Williams said: “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.”

2011 F1 season

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103 comments on Williams to return to Renault power in 2012

  1. Grace said on 4th July 2011, 16:04


  2. hope this deal brings old fortunes back…

  3. Fixy (@fixy) said on 4th July 2011, 16:06

    He said: “I was employed by the team to bring them back to the very front. This partnership will make it much easier.”

    = Cosworth is bad.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th July 2011, 19:01

      = Rubens is delusional. More than half the grid was a better choice to get the Williams to the very front.

      • The Last Pope said on 4th July 2011, 19:39

        This is just not true. It is well known that barrichello is one of the best drivers at developing and setting up a car. He is very knowlageable, he knows what the car is doing and how it works. This is why he is the perfect team mate for any rookie to learn from.

        • hohum said on 5th July 2011, 0:21

          Poor old Rubens, he has been “following the Renault (engine) on the track” and the Mercedes engine, and the Ferrari engine.

          • F1Andy83 said on 5th July 2011, 1:12

            lol poor rubens, I feel bad for him, every year he says is better than ever and everyone, and every year he does worse. Why williams would ever get rid of hulkenburg and hire rubens and a rookie is beyong any rational decisions(excluding money off course, but which will go away because the driver line up sucks from a mile away)

          • Mike said on 5th July 2011, 16:42

            Hulkenburg wasn’t beating Rubens. He does not have Ruben’s experience. Having two rookies is not a good thing.

            Think out a better way to Rubbish a driver.

        • mingmong said on 5th July 2011, 2:14

          spot on. Rubes was a perfect grab & still has plenty of talent.

        • cyanide (@cyanide) said on 5th July 2011, 9:25

          So have him become an F1 coach. There are faster people in the pitlane.

      • Nikos said on 5th July 2011, 1:38

        Dear “Todfod”, all of us know that Rubens will end his career on a Williams/Renault car. Just like Ayrton, his great teacher! Let’s stop this meaningless war against Rubinho. At least he’s better than revisited Schumi ;)

  4. I don’t know if it’s just the nostalgia but this has made me feel very happy. Williams have always been my favourite team and this link up just seems… right…

  5. James (@jamesf1) said on 4th July 2011, 18:51

    An interesting one. Big case of winners and losers here. Cosworth lose big time. They’ve lost Team Lotus as an engine supplier and next year they’re going to lose the jewel in their crown, Williams. They’ll then be left with Marussia Virgin and HRT. Those names are not going to push the brand forward.

    Williams look set to gain massively from this, in terms of performance and media coverage. The reunion between Williams and Renault will be quite nostalgic for a lot of people. It could propell them forward, certainly from where they currently are at the back end of the midfield.

    Although I would say the people licking their lips and rubbing their hands the most from this are the Renault Motorsport chiefs. They’ll be supplying four teams and shall surely be hauling in some mega bucks. It would seem reverting back to engine suppliers from manufacturers was an inspired move. They get a lot of coverage from Lotus Renault, Team Lotus and Red Bull (via Infiniti) as it is, so the Williams-Renault tie shall on propell them forward in terms of market gain.

    Speaking of which, did the announcement of this deal have a positive impact on Williams market shares today?

    A good news story for the sport and Williams, although there is clearly a lot of work for them.

    • The Last Pope said on 4th July 2011, 19:46

      You forget that the “Renault” team will most probably lose their Renault engines in 2012 and have to use cosworths.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2011, 20:36

      From the McLaren cooperation deal Virgin announced, I wouldn’t be supprised if that team changed engines later as well.

      Might be Cossy signalling they are not too keen on getting into the new V6Turbo engines?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th July 2011, 1:48

        From the McLaren cooperation deal Virgin announced, I wouldn’t be supprised if that team changed engines later as well.

        They won’t. Virgin are fully controlled by Marussia – I expect the team will change its constructor name in the future – and Cosworth powers Marussia’s road cars.

    • hohum said on 5th July 2011, 0:23

      I wonder if Bernie guaranteed them a minimum number of teams?

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 5th July 2011, 11:34

        There were a few attempted lawsuits in 2010 – one from Italian touring car team N.Technology and another from Zoran Stefanovic – claiming that they had been told the only way to be accepted to the grid was to nominate to use a Cosworth engine when they felt they had “a real chance” of securing an engine deal with another team, which they claimed was in violation of anti-competition laws. However, the courts rejected both lawsuits. The new entries were accepted under the budget cap rules, so the only way to get accepted was to show that you could run a team for as little as possible. That was the entire point of opening the grid up. The Cosworth engines were deliberately pitched by Cosworth as an entry-level engine package, and were thus so cheap that any team nominated to use another engine would seriously struggle to meet the criteria set forth by the FIA.

  6. The nostalgia element is fantastic. Also, the driveability of the Renault has been lauded many times, and it is something Rubens has complained about a few times since he joined the team. It can only be a step forward, but the team need to be more aggressive in the aero department to make a large step forward, I think.

  7. Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th July 2011, 18:56

    Takes me back to 1997, which was probably the first f1 season I followed closely. I was in constant awe of the Williams Renault at that time. They should have a livery similar to the one they had in 96 and 97.

    • The Last Pope said on 5th July 2011, 2:48

      Urrrm They do right now. The 2011 williams livery is in the Rothmans livery style.

      • They should go one further. Now Renault is on board, and their colour is yellow, they should add that to the blue and white of the Williams and re-create the 1989-1993 paintjob that they had when Renault first joined them.

        • Jon said on 5th July 2011, 9:55

          I agree, as I love that livery, but the yellow wasn’t from Renault, it was from the Camel sponsorship.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 5th July 2011, 9:23

        They could change the shade blue though.. it was more of a navy blue colour that they had in 96 and 97

  8. matt88 (@matt88) said on 4th July 2011, 18:57

    too much nostalgia… although i’ve never been a fan, during the years of Williams vs Benetton i used to be a Williams supporter… hearing again “Williams Renault” after 14 years gives me shivers down my spine.

  9. F1 98 said on 4th July 2011, 19:05

    Hope they perform good like in the 90’s

  10. Robert McKay said on 4th July 2011, 19:13

    The cynic in me says all this really means is they’ll need to find new excuses for why they’re still rubbish in a couple of seasons time.

    Hoping to be proven wrong, though.

  11. WIlliams had some success in 2000- 2001, when the car was able to produce some victories. Then they lost consistent results and fell down to their current state. This engine issue can finally fill the leaks Costworth have had. If they don’t do good, however, they will have a hard time looking for their inner problems. Renault is the engine to challenge, but let’s accept that some young assets could push this new alliance further than Rubens. If he still has enough motivation (let’s not forget his year at Brawn) he will materialize better performance with better scores. He and whoever his partner is.

    • They had success in 2002-2004 as well in fact they were contenders for the title in 03! :D

    • Nikos said on 6th July 2011, 0:50

      Rubens was fantastic during the Brawn era. It was the second driver and he did the best he could. Rubens must stay in Williams and he will…

  12. So we have a red McLaren, red Ferrari, Green Lotus, Black ‘Lotus’, and a blue (hopefully) Williams… OH THE NOSTALGIA!

  13. This is ab-so-lutley BRILLIANT!! if only they could bring back the rothmans colours, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve back it would be fantastic! 1996 all over again :D!!

  14. VXR said on 4th July 2011, 19:48

    It’s hardly likely that the Renault engine is much better than the Cosworth, and despite Lotus getting further ahead of the other two new-comers, it’s not down to the engine.

    Patrick Head also supports this theory.

    Head pointed out that switching from Cosworth to Renault was no guarantee of success, but would remove one question mark over Williams’s package.

    “A lot of these engines are very close in their ultimate performance, some of their characteristics will vary quite a bit,” he said.

    “With Team Lotus one can see changing with engine (Cosworth to Renault), it didn’t light their performance up.


    Also. Anyone who thinks that Barrichello is anything other than a quick racing driver, hasn’t come up with any reason has to why he’s out-classing Maldanado and has out-classed Hulkenburg.

    • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 5th July 2011, 0:16

      Wouldn’t KERS be a pretty significant factor in how slow Team Lotus are? 80 hp for 6 seconds a lap adds up to quite a lot over the course of a race….

  15. our_nige said on 4th July 2011, 20:05

    Why is everyone saying “they should get the Rothmans livery back”?

    They are basically running that livery this year already…

    • That’s what I thought, and this year’s livery is quite nice. I’d love to see a Camel-style livery next year, though I imagine somebody will kick up a fuss similar to when “Renault” did their thing.

  16. VXR said on 4th July 2011, 20:12

    Of course, the main thing that they can’t bring back is currently employed by Red Bull.

  17. Gaston (@golarrazabal) said on 4th July 2011, 20:28

    Is the Cosworth engine that bad? I was under the impression that its performance gap with the other engines, in general, was not particularly noteworthy. I don’t know where I’ve heard or read this, though.

    • The HRTs were quite high up in the speed traps in Valencia if I remember correctly so the engine’s obviously got a bit of grunt in it.

  18. ROSSI said on 4th July 2011, 20:38

    surely some one else will be losing their supply of engines,due to this link up? …. wasnt lotus mooted in an earlier post? I really hope this deal is the re-birth of williams,but didnt they have really good engines with bmw???

  19. Lee said on 4th July 2011, 21:42

    Surely we are all forgetting that the Renault engine is generally seen as on of the least powerful in the field and Williams have been getting it all wrong in the aero department for the last couple of years. I dont see how this is a step forward unless they make a massive leap forward in aero development. Thats how Red Bull compensate the lack of power of the engine.

    • Joe said on 4th July 2011, 21:50

      I was waiting for someone to say this and of course you are totally right.

      • Lee said on 4th July 2011, 21:59

        Well everyone is getting all sentimental about it as if the Renault engine is the class of the field like it was when they were last associated with each other, and when Williams had a young designer by the name of Adrian Newey……

    • gDog said on 5th July 2011, 1:34

      Thats all been shown to be a load of Horney distraction technique. The Renault engine may be lower in peak horsepower, but it seems to have a flatter horsepower curve which makes it more driveable. It’s also supposed to be the most fuel efficient, meaning less fuel, or more aggressive engine maps.

  20. Geo said on 4th July 2011, 21:54

    This brings back some nostalgia for myself and for Williams no doubt.

    As we’re on the subject of engines…

    When does Mercedes leave F1 as a supplier to other teams (as I heard this was the case when they bought Brawn GP)?

    And… Anyone have any idea as to what McLaren are going to do? Perhaps it will be Williams replacing them at the front(ish) of the grid soon.

    • 85Q said on 5th July 2011, 12:08

      i dont think they were planning to leave, just wind down their links with mclaren, except for engine supply.

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