Pastor Maldonado joins Williams F1 for the 2011 season

Pastor Maldonado joins Williams F1 for the 2011 season

Sir Frank Williams knows a thing or two about winning Formula One races. Since the team began competing in 1978, they’ve racked up 9 constructors championships (most recently in 1997) and their drivers have taken a total of seven world titles. Through the years, the team has used engines from Ford, Honda, Judd, Renault, BMW and Cosworth, but they’ve fared best under Renault power. Five of the nine constructor championships and four of the seven driver’s championships were earned under Renault power.

In 2011, Red Bull Renault has dominated the Formula One competition, and even under-funded Lotus Renault GP has fared well, thanks to a combination of Renault power and driver talent. The Renault RS27-2011 engine has proven itself in competition, and it appears to make significantly more power than the Cosworth CA2011 currently used by Williams and back-of-the-grid teams Hispania Racing and Marussia Virgin Racing.

That changes for 2012 and 2013, as Williams Formula One has just announced a two-year engine deal with Renault, which will take them up to the introduction of the new turbocharged V-6 formula in 2014. The agreement with Williams brings the number of teams using Renault power up to four, and opens the door for Williams to continue with Renault when the new engines are introduced.

Team owner Sir Frank Williams said of the deal, “We are delighted and excited by our new partnership with Renault. This reunites the F1 team with a leading car manufacturer and complements our new relationship with Jaguar. At the same time, we are grateful to Cosworth. They have been a fair and reliable partner both on and off the track for the past two years and we look forward to working with them across our business in the future.”

Williams’ switch to Renault power leaves only Hispania Racing and Marussia Virgin Racing aligned with Cosworth. Whether or not that will prove sufficiently lucrative for the manufacturer to develop a turbo V-6 for the upcoming rule change remains to be seen.