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Williams F1 contemplating Honda power switch

Williams contemplating Honda switch - report

Williams contemplating Honda switch – report

Williams’ head of performance Rod Smedley has played down suggestions the Grove based squad might be contemplating a shock switch from Formula 1’s field-leading Mercedes power.

The speculation first surfaced a few days ago, when Williams’ world champion of 1996, Damon Hill, suggested that moving away from Mercedes might be the only way the independent team can recapture its former glory.

“I sort of suggested to Claire (Williams) last year that the problem is they have the same engine as the Mercedes team,” he was quoted by Sky.

“I think as a team wanting to win the outright championship, strategically they would be better off with another engine and I think the only other engine you can think of is a Honda,” Hill added.

He acknowledged that Honda had a “catastrophic” return to F1 last year in works collaboration with McLaren, but thinks the Japanese carmaker will fight back.

“I could be wrong,” Hill continued, “but if they make the sort of impression they should do, then for Williams to get ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes they are going to have to have a different engine”.

There may be more to the story than just Hill’s opinion.

The German-language source Auto Bild Motorsport claims that Williams is indeed contemplating the switch to Honda power, having finished third with Mercedes for the past two seasons in the new ‘power unit’ era.

Like McLaren-Honda, a collaboration between Williams and Honda would not be new, after the world championships of 1986 and 1987.

Last year, McLaren supremo Ron Dennis blocked Red Bull’s move to Honda power, but Auto Bild claims he is more open to the idea of a deal for Williams.

But Smedley, Williams’ lead engineer, played down the rumours.

“First of all we are really, really happy with the level of service and the power unit itself that we get from Mercedes,” he said.

Smedley admitted that Williams fell a development step behind the works Mercedes team last year, but indicated that the teams will return to parity for 2016.

“I think ultimately we are really happy,” he insisted. “They (Mercedes) are a very professional outfit and they supply an incredible power unit as well.”

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2 Comments
  • Bill Cape Coral

    Buying from Mercedes or Ferrari and likely Renault ensures that you are getting power units that are a step behind the factory efforts, Honda is a power unit supplier but depending on their current contract with McLaren they are the only engine that could be fair for all the independent teams in making equal power.

    The fact is if you are a customer to Mercedes, Ferrari or likely Renault you nothing but their little b!T(h.

    The engine software is just as important as the rest of the power unit and everyone knows that Mercedes, Ferrari and likely Renault will never let their customers have full access to the software and that is what will kill the customer teams, well that and selling year old power units that are behind the current spec power units to customer teams.

    Honda does not have that issue being a power unit supplier and not owning their own team they should be open to giving every team they have only the best and most up to date power unit and full access to the software.

    Again that depends on their contract with McLaren and hopefully it does not short change other Honda customers. McLaren was correct when they said you can’t win the championships being a customer team to factory teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault because you will always be a step behind those three as they will never let their customers have their best power units.

  • Richard Piers

    That would be a very good pairing. I have no doubt that Honda will get on top of their problems. Ron Dennis will have to accept other users in due course and what better than old friends and adversaries.

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