Susie Wolff, Felipe Nasr, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Frank Williams, Claire Williams

Williams pleased to “luck into” Mercedes engine deal

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Frank Williams says he is pleased his team “lucked into” an engine supply deal with Mercedes, which he believes will be the best engine of the season.

Williams switched engine suppliers during the winter having spent two years as Renault customers. While Renault have struggled to get their new engine working, Mercedes hit the ground running when testing began.

Susie Wolff, Felipe Nasr, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Frank Williams, Claire WilliamsWilliams covered more mileage than any team bar Mercedes’ works outfit and set the quickest lap time of the eight days of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“The knowledge we have is it’s a world class engine,” said the team’s founder. “It’s probably – not certainly – but probably going to be the engine of the year.”

“And delighted I would say to have lucked into it by certain special circumstances, enable us to jump the queue if you wish.

“We feel very privileged to have it and of course the brand itself is truly as famous a brand you could ever… is known and recognised everywhere around the world. We’re, if you like, part of that, in partnership with that brand.

“But going back to the real thing, a winning engine? I would say so.”

Williams added securing a title sponsorship deal with Martini was a major coup for the team:

“Well first of all it’s a pretty smart livery. It’s internationally famous, it speaks of style, good style, premier brand, premier accomplishments.

“Certainly for us to be associated with it is a major plus and of course it’s a substantial sponsorship which is important to any and every grand prix team. It’s a meaningful deal.”

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Image © Williams/Getty

54 comments on “Williams pleased to “luck into” Mercedes engine deal”

  1. “It’s a meaningful deal.”

    Some of the best words I’ve heard in a very long time. Privateer teams like Williams used to be the backbone and lifeblood of the sport that I love. For the last decade or more, we’ve slowly lost them to big manufacturers or big business with heaps of cash, but with what seems like a revival of fortune, Williams is finding itself near the front again and I can’t state enough how big a deal that is.

    I think we’re long past the time when plucky little private teams find themselves fighting for championships, which is a shame, but hopefully the likes of Williams will keep the old racing spirit alive to allow people to draw a line from little karters and small private teams in the lower formulae all the way up to the top.

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      9th March 2014, 10:57

      Privateer teams like Williams used to be the backbone and lifeblood of the sport that I love.

      Please note though that at the beginning of the World Champonship, and the years of the European Championship before that (and the era before that), the championships were dominated by (probably big) road-going car manufacturers.

    2. Well said @mouse_nightshirt. Seeing Williams languishing at the back of the midfield for the past few years has been really painful to watch. It’s not that long ago that they were embarrassing the field in much the same way RBR did in the last few seasons. I honestly do hope that this is a genuine and sustainable revival for Williams, they are as important to F1 as any team on the grid.

    3. Perfectly stated. I really do have my fingers crossed for them.

      1. The thing is, I’ve visited that factory and it is no small tin pot operation.

        They have a big team infrastructure, way bigger than say the Force Indias of this world, they’ve hired well, they have a good budget now, and its working! This team could win world championships in near future if they can keep this progress going.

  2. Being a fan of this sport i grew up watching the Williams cars dominating it, even though i have been always a die hard Ferrari fan since my childhood but the return of the front of Williams team makes me happy because this gentleman Frank Williams has given his life to this sport, i mean what forces a man of his age and wealth to be always present with his team even in the darkest moments ? We need this spirit and these values of Sir. Frank Williams in F1 especially in this time when money become the only religion of people running this sport.

  3. Echoing the words of many, it makes me so happy that Williams are back in contention. They are undoubtably one of the most iconic teams in F1 today (with Ferrari and McLaren) and hopefully we can see Frank Williams with a big smile on his face because he has seen his Grand Prix team at the front again. Let’s see McLaren and Williams battle at the front!!!

  4. But weren’t Williams & Renault the most successful partnership… I wonder what we would have heard, had Renault engines turned out to be better…
    By the way, I have the highest respect for Sir FW

  5. I don’t think that luck had anything to have with it, but i recon that for most of the F1 fans it’s good to have Williams in the front rows. But the golden years of the Williams are with Renaullt engines…
    Everyone look today with some indiference to Renault engines, and there’s a hype for the Mercedes, but somehow i think that neither Mercedes engines teams will do so good or Renault powered teams will do so bad.

    1. After 6 or 7 races the only difference will be reliability. The will all run the same. Big game changer… aerodynamics.

  6. “I wouln’t say to have have lucked into it”.

    Article headline: William’s “luck into” it.

    Good job with selective quoting…

    1. What you quoted:

      “I wouln’t say to have have lucked into it”.

      What was actually said:

      “And delighted I would say to have lucked into it…

      Good job with actually reading/listening…

      1. @fluxsource He definitely said “wouldn’t”, and not “would”. I admit it is difficult to tell, but the rest of the sentence and his body language don’t make sense unless you apply the word “wouldn’t” to his statement.

        1. I generally have a hard time understanding the british accent for some reason and listening to it twice, I still have no idea what he said through half of that interview.

        2. Completely disagree. The transcript in the article is absolutely correct. Saying “wouldn’t” doesn’t make any sense there with the rest of the sentence.

          The “I would say” part is referring to “delighted”, not to “lucked into it”.

          1. Absolutely disagree w/ you and agree w/ those saying “wouldn’t”, as well as other media who properly report what Sir Frank said – that he did not believe they lucked into the deal.

            I STRONGLY urge @keithcollantine to contact Williams F1 press relations and ask for CLARIFICATION b/c this is a major misrepresentation, potentially.

          2. I STRONGLY urge @keithcollantine to contact Williams F1 press relations and ask for CLARIFICATION b/c this is a major misrepresentation, potentially.

            @J.Danek Keith has better things to do…

        3. To be honest, it isn’t very clear, but after several goes at it and watching body language and listening to context, I would stick my neck out and say that he actually said “wouldn’t.”

          Difficult to tell though – Frank has always been a bit of a “mumbler.” (In the nicest possible way of course!)

          1. Ooops, sorry about the Bold.

      2. The way I heard it:
        “…and delighted , I wouldn’t say to have lucked into it, but special circumstances enabled us to jump the queue if you wish.”
        Using ‘wouldn’t’ is really the only way this sentence makes sense. To me.

        1. Yeah this is how I heard it.

        2. The sentence makes sense if you change what the would/wouldn’t is referring to. If it refers to the use of the word “delighted” then it makes perfect sense.

          To make “wouldn’t” work, you have to change another word as well – by into but. Which it’s clearly not.

          1. @fluxsource If he said “by” instead of “but”, I’d think that he would have also said either “which” or “that” in between “circumstances” and “enabled”. Anyway, I’m sure Sir Frank knows what he meant to say…whatever it was ! :-)

        3. Agreed it is an easy mistake to make but he says wouldn’t.

  7. No doubt they made the right decision and probably benefited from their connection to Toto. I really wish them to fight for the championship! … but i’m wondering why there still isnt’t any Mercedes sticker on the car?!

    1. If they start winning races I’m pretty sure we’ll see one or two making an appearance on the car…

    2. They’re on the overalls, which could be a sign of them soon appearing on the car…

  8. What were the circumstances that led to them “lucking into it” and “jumping the queue” ?

    1. Williams>Susie Wolff>Toto Wolf>Mercedes.
      I hope that answers it..

      1. But lets be honest here…

        Susie does not look so great in those white overalls but Claire’s looking good in that blue dress.

    2. I believe it was Toro Rosso wanting to switch to Renault engines (so they could swap data with Red Bull). I think I recall hearing that Renault only wanted to supply 4 teams and as Williams had been with them the shortest they were politely asked to find an alternative supplier. I suspect Rooney could be correct in that their connection to Toto Wolff may have affected it

  9. I’ve had a soft spot for Williams since the early 90’s with the likes of Mansell and Hill and Senna, and then my guy JV winning their last WDC really sealed it for me, and throughout I learned more about the pre-90’s days, and the FW-07 remains one of my all time favourite cars.

    I always only ever wish them all the best, and I hope they fight for podia this year. They deserve it.

  10. I cannot help feel that the top teams this year will not be the best cars, but will be the cars with the the best power unit= Mercedes.
    Mercedes the car may well only be a 4th best team again, behind redbull, Renault and Ferrari, but will be at the front because of their power unit. Williams, may have improved slighlty, but to only about 5th best car, but will be 2nd best in races because of Mercedes power unit.
    Frank Williams is totally correct, Williams have lucked in this year, them and Mercedes the team have not had to improve much in other areas but will have a huge advantage just from having the better power unit. to me this is as much an artificial lift to a team as drs passing. I firmly believe the power units should be regulated to a level playing field, with a bit more testing this might have became the case anyway, but this will be the first time in nearly 20 years where one engine manufacturer has such an advantage over an other, and now we have homologation, which we didn’t 20 years ago. the speed trap figures in Bahrain suggesting merc 30kmh an hour faster then Renault, merc themselves admitting their engine producing around 700hp instead of originally predicted 600hp and other claims during testing that merc have a 150hp advantage just does not seem right to me, it will not be a fair formulae. Ofcourse well done to Mercedes for building such a great power unit, but I do not think the rule makers thought this through. limited testing for a new formulae is just wrong, and now we might well have a 2 tier series.

    1. Couldn’t disagree with you more. Formula 1 is an engineering sport, the best engineering + driver combination wins. That is not only aero, but also chassis and ENGINE. I think its refreshing to have a little disparity between engines, and the fact one bunch did a better job than the others.

      1. Exactly! …and why are all the people forgetting about the ferrari engines?! They also built an engine, which works properly.

      2. engine disparity is much bigger then aero or driver disparity sadly, so you are wrong. you would be correct if every team had their own engine to work on. team aero and engineering is 10 teams, drivers is 20 drivers. engines is only 3, and it affects so many more then 3.

        1. I think that any PU discrepancy is fairly temporary. Development is frozen so I think in a short while there won’t be that much to choose between the engines themselves. Perhaps the ERS will vary more than the engines.

          kpcart I think you are way underestimating the drastic changes needed this year to the chassis too. To say Merc didn’t have to work on handling and now have a DRS like fake advantage due to succeeding in their PU division and will therefore be at the front unfairly, is to me strange. Great PU or not, it doesn’t do you much good if you can’t translate it to the road, so it has been an entirely new challenge in the handling department for these teams too. Not to mention, Merc did in fact have handling issues in terms of not maximizing their tires, so they have an opportunity with this new chapter to ensure their chassis does their PU justice.

          1. it is a shame the development is frozen so early, that might mean Renault will never catch up to Mercedes. Mercedes have a locked in advantage now.

    2. You can’t claim that Mercedes have built the 4th best car if they’re winning, simple as. There’s more to a car than the aerodynamics

      1. well today Horner said that Mercedes may win by 2 laps in Melbourne, he would know the score, and it wont be because of the aero, it will be because of the PU.

  11. But going back to the real thing, a winning engine?

    Somebody please tell Frank his team has been driving a Renault engine, and for the last 4 years he only got a pole and a win in nearly 80 races. In the meantime Renault wiped the floor with Ferrari, Cosworth and Merc.

    I’m not a Renault an, in fact I dislike it, but its a real good engine.

  12. This has nothing to do with luck. It is probably because Williams test driver Susie Wolff is probably sleeping with Mercedes Toto Wolff.

    1. “probably” ?!

  13. haha “special circumstances”.. it always helps when you have a Mercedes boss’ wife in your team. It wouldn’t surprise me if the FP1 session for Wolff, was actually part of the engine/apparent queue skipping deal!

  14. Zain Siddiqui (@powerslidepowerslide)
    9th March 2014, 15:47

    What I hear is, “delighted to — I wouldn’t say to have lucked into it…”

  15. I must also say how glad I am to see Williams looking competitive again, and I would like to remind people that without Williams past history of developing the cars they raced they would have been gone from F1 some years ago, what has kept them solvent during these last years is the income derived from the technology they developed during the period prior to the current era of “one size fits all” restrictions on developing technology for F1 cars.

    1. I feel Williams is just all nostalgia now…. they cannot compete realistically at the top. maybe they will for the first half of this season, who knows – yet it seems only the rule changes will make them competitive – for sure the Merc engine will put them ahead of Lotus, Ferrari and Redbull. This is sport, it is about building the best car, Williams have not done that since the 90s, F1 has moved on. HoHum, I do not think you are correct, they are still a well financed team. they are a corporation. I wont show them compassion for past years, lets see them be competitive once and for all, in 10 years they will still be here, and people will still be giddy with nostalgia about them even if they continue to underperform.

      1. kpcart, you have missed the point entirely, yes Williams are a corporation and yes they have funds, but the source of those funds is the technology they developed for F1 racing, since further developed for, and sold to ,roadcar manufacturers, had there been no developements allowed when Williams started racing, other than downforce like now, then Williams would have had nothing to sell and would not have been able to afford to continue racing unsuccesfully for as long as they have.

  16. does anyone know where they did their filming day?

    1. Ascari Resort..Espagne…

  17. Smart livery was my 1st thought, though they left lots of space for more collaborators. Wolff must be the linkage between Williams and Mercedes but one cannot say that the car itself isn’t a strong contender they’ve certainly hit tbe spot this season and I hope this is what will propel them to a comfortable position in F1

  18. What a ridiculous headline – he says he “wouldn’t” say he lucked into it not “would”. Makes the whole jist of the article wrong.

  19. Does Formula 1 advertising work?
    I don’t know, but else is planning of having Martinis during the inaugural race in Melbourne next Sunday?

  20. I’d rather Williams finished in the top 6 consistently than win one race and fade away. They need a good solid season this year, a win isn’t the key for them.

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