Williams want to be the A team, not a B team

Date published: March 24 2021 - Jon Wilde

George Russell, Williams, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Williams have denied they are interested in becoming a ‘B team’ to Alpine, insisting they intend to remain independent.

A report last month suggested Renault, who have changed their F1 constructor branding to Alpine this year, are keen to acquire a ‘partner’ to whom they could potentially supply engines and also one of their junior drivers to gain experience.

Alfa Romeo, who are tied in with Ferrari, were reported to be the initial target for Renault but when that became a non-starter, they turned attention to Williams.

At present, Williams have a technical collaboration with Mercedes in place, which will increase from 2022 as they strive to work their way back up the order having finished last in the World Championship for the past three years.

But according to their new CEO, Jost Capito, they have no plans to become a ‘junior team’ of any manufacturer, be it an existing one or a new arrival into Formula 1.

“If we would improve and can improve the results, we will be more attractive for OEMs coming in. But our clear objective is to stay an independent team and not bought by any other team or by an OEM,” said Capito, quoted by Autosport.

“Williams have always been independent and not what you see with these A and B teams. For us, a B team is a team that doesn’t have independent ownership, or have some ownership from an OEM or another Formula 1 team. On that definition, we don’t want to be a B team.

“We want to be the A team because racing is our core business and should stay our core business and independent from a manufacturer who decides to be in or out. That would challenge our existence.”

Jost Capito, Williams

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Capito is clear that Williams will respect their contract with Mercedes and have no intention of changing affiliation yet.

“We have a good relationship with Mercedes and a contract that goes still a couple of years,” he said. “And we respect this contract because we are very happy with the relationship.

“I don’t see in the future that teams will do their own engines, so you will always need an engine. And then you can discuss ‘is a gearbox part of that?’

“The engines and the gearboxes are made together by the manufacturer, when you look at Mercedes for example. And that’s where we came to the conclusion that it makes sense to have the whole powertrain from 2022.

“But we still see that as being independent. Independent is when you can choose the partners you want to work with.”

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