Lance Stroll, Williams, Monza, 2018

Williams decides against Mercedes gearbox deal for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Williams will continue to manufacture its own gearboxes having decided against switching to Mercedes units for the 2019 F1 season.

Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe confirmed when asked by RaceFans the team had considered whether to purchase gearboxes from Mercedes along with their supply of power units.

“We’re not taking a Mercedes gearbox,” said Lowe. “We make our own gearbox. We’ll continue to do that.”

“We had some discussions but we concluded it wasn’t the right direction to go,” he added.

As of this season, Williams is the only team on the grid whose gearboxes are not made from carbon fibre. The FW41 has an aluminium gearbox.

Williams heads into this weekend’s race at Singapore having achieved its first two-car points finish of the season at Monza. Lance Stroll expects the Marina Bay street track will be a more difficult venue for the team.

“Singapoore’s going to be challenging, realistically,” he said. “But maybe we’ll show up and it’ll be better than expected. I’m going to stay positive going into Singapore.

“Last year we had a really bad qualifying and our pace was really poor but from 18th we finished eighth. It’s one of those tracks where carnage can happen, there’s always opportunities in Singapore. A bit of rain, you never know, like last year. I’ll go in there and do what I can to nail it again.”

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20 comments on “Williams decides against Mercedes gearbox deal for 2019”

  1. I’d like to know if they also decided against a Mercedes driver deal for 2019.

    Ocon seems to be hamstrung by his Mercedes contract. The best available seats are in teams who have no ties with Mercedes. I can imagine that Haas, for instance, chooses Vandoorne over Ocon if they want to change drivers due to the latter’s Mercedes ties.

    1. Wouldn’t be that upset if that happened. Vandoorne deserves another go and I’m sure Icon will be back in a good team sabbatical or not..

      1. Could just as well end up being a guy like Markelov though @cliffery

  2. “Singapoore’s going to be challenging, realistically,”

    Yes, it’s going to be very poore, by the looks of things…

  3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    11th September 2018, 11:01

    I don’t understand the motivation behind this decision. Do Williams think their Advanced Engineering dept can do a better job? Can they simply not afford it? Pride?

    1. If Newey’s book is to be believed Williams and especially Patrick Head took enormous pride in producing their own gearbox. It appears old habits die hard.

    2. I wonder if it’s a sunk costs decision? How much money do they have invested in their design, and how much of a bath would it be to cast it aside?

      Although we really don’t have any information as to if it performs significantly worse (or better!) than competitor units. I don’t recall Williams have gearbox issues recently among the myriad of other problems.

    3. Williams is and stays a constructor, developing the most parts of their car.

  4. Really the only news I await from Mercedes/Williams is wether the latter is paying the latter’s salary to get his seat in a F1 next year. With all the moves for next year, it’ll be a crying shame if it ended in Ocon missing out.

  5. Does that seem a stubborn move from Williams to show they are still ‘pure racers’ yet might lead them out of F1?
    I think the Haas model to Ferrari has been smart, Sauber and Force India likewise. It doesnt give us fans hope of ’10 guys on the grid can win this race today’ but still better than ’12 F1 cars line up to start’. Costs are so high teams need to lean on the maunfactures when they can, as much as I dont like saying that.

    1. Toro Rosso is going to build the next car with the maximum of RedBull parts allowed too. So they will likely be more competitive next year too.

  6. There is nothing to look forward to at Williams. Maybe they could become the Mclaren “B” team.

    1. Sad, but could be true. The bigger issue is who to nominate as the Mclaren “A” team.

  7. Hopefully this means Kubica will get a drive next year.

  8. Williams Advanced Engineering, is an engineering company that races in F1. They do loads of other marvelous things beyond F1.
    If you are a technological leader (or are promoting that as fact) then why would you be outsourcing something that you are supposed to be good at and know that you can do. Of course you wouldn’t.
    It make perfect sense. They have the tools, the capability and the knowledge to build their own gear-box. If you want to innovate and develop in F1, you have to have control.
    Since the rear suspension is generally anchored to the gear box, loosing control of that geometry forces you to adopt someone else’s suspension attachment points. Possibly not what you want.
    Yes they are likely being a bit stubborn, but more credit to them. That is what will pull them up from where they are now.

    1. +1
      Not just pride.

  9. I think this confirms Williams are, as always going to do there own thing as this article from The Times

    Williams Grand Prix Holdings, parent company of the Williams Formula One motor racing team, is working with Unipart, the motor components group, to start production for Aston Martin’s first electric supercar, the RapidE.

  10. If I recall correctly, this is a Constructors Championship, and F1 teams have always taken pride in building their own cars. So we should be applauding Williams for being true to the “real” F1 DNA.

  11. Good point about the suspension mountings. I think you hit that out of the park.

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