Monday, July 4, 2011

Williams-Renault is back-back-back!

    Hyper-successful 1990s F1 combo reunited in new engine deal

    Mansell! Prost! Hill! That Canadian bloke! In a rekindling of one of the most successful partnerships in F1 history, Williams today announced that its cars will be powered by Renault engines from 2012.
    Williams-Renault cars clinched five constructors titles and four drivers championships in the 1990s, winning over 50 races and amassing so many points that TG's office calculator literally set on fire while trying to add them all up just now.
    Since the two outfits parted company in 2000, Williams' fortunes have declined. The Oxfordshire team last won a race in 2004 and, currently running Cosworth engines, is languishing ninth in this year's constructor's championship.
    Renault's engines, on the other hand, are showing a clean set of tailpipes to the rest of the field, powering Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull to the 2010 drivers title and looking on course to do the same again this year.
    Today's deal will make Williams the fourth team to run Renault engines in 2012, joining Red Bull, Team Lotus and Lotus-Renault. At present, the deal only covers the 2012 and 2013 season, but both parties are keen to extend the relationship when the new engine regulations - requiring cars to run 1.6-litre turbo V6 engines - come into force in 2014.
    "I'm really thrilled and delighted... but slightly nervous," admitted Frank Williams. "What we used to achieve with Renault in the 1990s is by no means a guarantee for what might happen in the future."
    "Our previous relationship with Renault was one of the most successful in Williams' history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past. We must look to the future and continue to re-build our on-track reputation, which I am hopeful that today's announcement will help us to do."
    Former Williams-Renault champions Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve (that's the chap) were on hand at the announcement to weigh in with their opinions.
    "I had my entire career with Renault-Williams and I've got nothing but massive admiration for both parts of the equation," said 1996 champion Hill.
    "To be one of the four teams supported by Renault is quite a coup," agreed Mansell. "I hope for Williams that they'll be winning races again somewhere in the near future."
    So let's cap this fuzzy good-news story by asking you, loyal TopGear.communists: what's your favourite Williams-Renault F1 memory?

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