Renault have been seeking new customers for their engines since McLaren penned a deal to reunite with Mercedes after a 6 year absence. For this season, they are set to only be supplying Alpine, a rebranding of their own works team and no one else.
Written By Ian Bruce, Edited By Ryan Lack
They had been in talks with Alfa Romeo, who after a season of poor performance thanks to their Ferrari engines, were considering options. Team Principal Fred Vasseur was quoted in December stating “We’re tied to Ferrari until the end of 2021, then we’ll have to go over the books because the next contract should run from 2022 to 2026 because of the new cars”. This has all gone by the wayside with reports of Alfa Romeo about to pen a new deal to purchase Ferrari engines until the end of 2025.
With most other teams very settled in their supply and with the likelihood of Red Bull becoming a full manufacturer, they have turned to an old ally. Having been partners from 1989 to 1997 (1998 and 1999 if you include the rebranded Mecachrome and Supertec engines), which were Williams most successful years. Also during the 2012 to 2013 seasons, but with only one win, this time the partnership wasn’t as successful. It seems sensible for Renault to try to reignite the partnership.
These are two problems that Renault must overcome to prise Williams away from the much coveted Mercedes power plant though.
The first issue is that all teams are already very deep into the development of their 2022 challenges and will have already used the dimensions of their current engines. For a team that, even with new investors, will be watching every penny, an expensive redesign will be needed.
The other is that Williams announced earlier this year that they will be increasing their partnership with Mercedes to more than engines. From 2022 they will be taking hydraulic systems and gearboxes from Mercedes. These are parts that Renaults have not supplied to previous customers, but with the vast funds at hand to Renault, I don’t see this being too much of an issue.
With Williams being their only option, will they succeed? I’m not sure, Williams made great steps last year and that Mercedes engine will remain a big part. As new CEO of Renault, Luca de Meo, has already been swift in making changes to the F1 operation, I can see him pulling out all the stops to land them! I, for one, would love to see the name Williams-Renault back in F1 once more.