Williams to switch to Cosworth engines? UPDATE #4 Although there has been no official confirmation from either party as yet, reports in Autosport indicate that the Grove based Williams team will reignite their old relationship with Cosworth engines for the upcoming 2010 Formula One championship season.
After making their split with Toyota official recently, reports were that they were trying to reignite another old partnership, one with Renault that was terminated at the end of the 1997 season after Jacques Villeneuve has wrapped up his one and only world championship crown with the team. However, the British magazine claims that top officials from the French company have revealed that they are no longer part of Williams’ future plans.
Other reports leaned more toward a Mercedes/Williams partnership, however that too has been negated leaving a deal with Cosworth as the most plausible course of action, especially with high praise from team boss Patrick Head....
"They are certainly very committed to it (their F1 return) and working hard. They have been one of the options but we are not stating where we cast our final hook in terms of what is available to us until after the final race of the season. But I think our design office know what they are designing for," he was quoted as saying on Autosport. 10/14/09 See related hot news item.
10/02/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with regard to Williams dropping Toyota engines. Williams has now formally requested to withdraw from its customer engine supply contract with Toyota, the latter team's president John Howett confirmed to reporters at Suzuka on Friday.
Grove based Williams has been rethinking its engine supply options for 2010, with Cosworth and Renault believed to be at the top of the list.
"We are happy to supply Williams (but) they don't want our engine," said Howett, amid speculation in the Suzuka paddock that a deal between Williams and Cosworth is close to being signed.
"If they want the engine it's still available but I think now we have separated for various reasons," he added.
Howett has previously confirmed that Toyota would not hold Williams to its 2010 contract, because the intention of the agreement is to support independent teams.
It is also rumored that other teams, for instance USF1, may be interested in taking over Williams' Toyota engine supply.
"Our position is that if they (Williams) don't want it then fine, we are talking to other people for a supply," Howett confirmed.
USF1, as well as the other three confirmed new teams for 2010, are all contracted to use Cosworth power next year.
"We've got more than one team asking for it (the engine)," Howett continued. "Some are unable, I think, without a breach of contract to do that."
It is rumored that Cosworth would allow a contract breach, particularly if Williams' talks with the independent British engine maker come to fruition.09/26/09 After running with Toyota engines for the past three years, the Williams team will sign up a new engine partner for the 2010 F1 season. According to Technical Director Sam Michael, the Grove team is still in the middle of an engine decision.
Possible engine suppliers for Williams could be Mercedes, who have shown a light interest in driver Nico Rosberg, but Ferrari and Renault are also possible options.
When asked about the current engine situation at Williams, Australian Michael said: "We are still in the middle of that decision - that's all I can say, as I don't have any more information on that. As soon as I know, I will start designing next year's car around it. From a technical point of view it is always best to know a long time in front."
08/22/09 (GMM) Williams may be on the lookout for a new engine supplier for the 2010 season.
It is believed the British team, currently powered by Toyota's V8 unit, has a contract to remain with the Japanese supplier next year. Indeed, on the 2010 entry list, Toyota is listed as Williams' continuing partner.
But rumors on the verge of the European grand prix at Valencia suggest that the situation is complicated by KERS.
FOTA, the manufacturer-dominated F1 teams alliance, has agreed not to fit the energy-recovery technology to their cars in 2010.
Williams, however, is not a FOTA member, and is busily continuing with development of an unique flywheel-based KERS version that it hopes not only to race in F1 but also push into markets beyond the sport.
Furthermore, the British team was the only current competitor to not support a vote to remove KERS from the 2010 technical regulations at a meeting of the Technical Working Group earlier this week.
But while not bound by the FOTA gentleman's agreement, Williams may face difficulty in using KERS next year due to its Toyota engines.
It is rumored that the Toyota engine, because the Japanese marque has never considered using KERS, is not equipped to run the programs necessary to control KERS.
Another rumor is that Williams, whose Toyota contract contains an exit clause in the event the British team locates an engine supply free of charge, has therefore been forced to look elsewhere for a 2010 engine.
A source said the rumors are not accurate.