“Silly Season” is a well-established term in Formula 1, describing the time when speculation and rumors about the driver market are at their peak. This usually happens around summer. However, it’s new that there is now even a Silly Season for engines.
Here is the latest paddock rumor: From 2020, Williams could change from Mercedes to Renault. According to ABMS information negotiations are already well underway.
With these rumors, it’s obvious that the chemistry between Williams and Mercedes is not a good as it used to be. One reason is that Williams categorically refuses to purchase more than just the engine units from Mercedes, which would include its gearbox.
Traditionally, Williams prefers to use its own gearbox. But according to engineers, it loses about a second to Racing Point which already acquires the whole package from Mercedes including gearbox.
A possible Williams change to Renault could also affect McLaren. McLaren obtains its engines from Renault since 2018.
If Williams decided to switch to Renault, Mercedes would have the capacity to supply another team. In turn, McLaren could assume Williams role as Mercedes client.
A Mercedes/ McLaren collaboration has a long tradition within Formula 1. In 1995, Mercedes acquired 30 percent of Mclaren and it kept it shares until 2010 when it established its own Formula 1 team. From there on, it continued to provide engine units to McLaren until 2013.
The collaboration was a fruitful one. Together, they won three drivers’ championships during this time. 1998 and 1999 with Mika Häkkinen, 2008 with Lewis Hamilton. From 1997 to 2013, McLaren’s F1 cars were also painted in the typical Mercedes silver.
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.