What Engine Does Williams Use In F1?

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Williams are one of the most well-known names in Formula 1 and have won the second most championships in the sport’s history. However, in recent years their reputation has spiraled, seeing them plummet to the bottom end of the grid. This may leave many wondering what engines Williams currently use.

The Williams F1 team uses Mercedes engines, has done since 2014, and will do until at least the end of the 2025 season. The team had the most success with Renault as their engine supplier, winning 5 Constructors’ Championships. However, they have used 9 different manufacturers in total.

Williams haven’t always used Mercedes engines, relying on several suppliers over the years to power their cars. In this article we will discuss Williams’ relationship with Mercedes both in the present and into the future. We will also highlight engines that have brought the team success in the past.

Who Makes Williams F1 Engines?

Mercedes have made Williams F1 engines since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014. Despite engine manufacturer Mercedes’ dominant success, Williams have been on the decline since 2014, becoming a consistent back marker on the grid. In 2019, the two teams signed a long-term contract to carry on Mercedes’ supply of engines to Williams. The contract will run until 2025.

Williams are not the only team on the grid to use Mercedes engines, with Aston Martin and McLaren the other two customers. McLaren have enjoyed long relationships with Mercedes in the past, having used their engines for 20 consecutive seasons between 1995 and 2014, before switching to Honda. They rekindled their relationship in 2021, joining the rebranded Aston Martin and Williams as customers.

Unfortunately, Williams is the underperforming team out of the four that use Mercedes engines. They haven’t been able to benefit from the obvious power that the engine possesses, with their position in the Constructors’ Championship firmly towards the bottom for the past five seasons.  

Have Williams Always Used Mercedes Engines?

Williams have not always used Mercedes engines in Formula 1. In fact, since they first entered the sport in the late 1970s, they have used 9 different engine suppliers. Their very first cars were powered by Ford Cosworth DFV engines, one of the most popular engines in F1 at the time. 

The Ford engine powered them to their first two constructors’ titles in the early 80s. The team then moved on to Honda engines, and they achieved more success, winning a further two titles. 

Williams eventually switched to Renault engines for their most successful era in Formula 1. They won five Constructors’ titles with Renault engines, finishing second three times during a nine-season spell with the French manufacturer. 

Stints with BMW, Toyota, Cosworth, Supertec and Mecachrome followed, although with less success. They even went back to Renault again for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, before signing their long-term contract with Mercedes in 2014, with whom they have worked ever since. 

KEY POINTS

• Williams have been using Mercedes engines since 2014

• They have used a total of 9 different manufacturers in their time in F1 

• Their most successful stint came with Renault, winning 5 championships with the French brand

Does Williams Use Other Mercedes Components?

Following the major Formula 1 regulation changes from the start of the 2022 season, Williams expanded their relationship with Mercedes, and now use even more transferrable components supplied by the German manufacturer. The updated deal includes the supply of gearboxes and hydraulics, two areas in which Williams were falling behind, having previously used aluminum cased gearboxes.

The gearboxes supplied by Mercedes are encased in carbon-fiber, a lighter but more expensive to manufacture material. These parts are permitted for supply by the updated FIA rules, which categorize them as transferrable. This means that while the intellectual property will still belong to Mercedes, they can choose to supply them to other teams. 

Williams have been keen to state that they are still an independent team, despite receiving engines and other transferrable components from Mercedes. At the time the deal was announced, Williams’ then principal Simon Roberts made it clear that the team had to react to the current climate of F1 in order to remain competitive on track, but they would not become Mercedes’ B-Team. 

Williams F1 Engines Over The Years

YearEngine SupplierWinsConstructors’ Championship 
1978Ford Cosworth09th
1979Ford Cosworth52nd
1980Ford Cosworth61st
1981Ford Cosworth41st
1982Ford Cosworth14th 
1983Ford Cosworth, Honda14th 
1984Honda16th 
1985Honda43rd 
1986Honda91st
1987Honda91st 
1988Judd07th 
1989Renault22nd 
1990Renault24th 
1991Renault72nd 
1992Renault101st
1993Renault101st
1994Renault61st
1995Renault52nd 
1996Renault121st 
1997Renault81st 
1998Mecachrome 03rd 
1999Supertec05th 
2000BMW03rd 
2001BMW 43rd 
2002BMW12nd 
2003BMW42nd 
2004BMW14th 
2005BMW05th 
2006Cosworth 08th 
2007Toyota04th 
2008Toyota08th 
2009Toyota07th 
2010Cosworth06th 
2011Cosworth09th 
2012Renault18th 
2013Renault09th 
2014Mercedes03rd 
2015Mercedes03rd 
2016Mercedes05th 
2017Mercedes05th
2018Mercedes010th 
2019Mercedes010th 
2020Mercedes010th 
2021Mercedes08th 
2022Mercedes010th 

The Beginnings Of A Great Team

Williams have used a variety of different engine suppliers since they began racing in Formula 1. They started with Ford Cosworth engines, which were the dominant engine throughout the 70s and early 80s. This paid off as they won their first two Constructors’ Championships consecutively, in just their third and fourth season under the Williams name.  

Their most successful era began in 1989, when they partnered up with Renault. During their nine-year spell together, Williams won five Constructors’ Championships, attracting F1 greats such as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Damon Hill to drive for them. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the team experienced a downturn in form once they parted ways with Renault.

Moving Backwards

Although their position in the Constructors’ Championship table remained consistent, achieving third and second place finishes, they began to decline, and are yet to lift the constructors’ title again. Before they signed a long-term deal with Mercedes, their most settled engine deal post-Renault was with BMW, with their six-year partnership yielding two third place and two second place finishes.

Unfortunately, the Williams team has gone from being one of the heavyweights of the sport to being a consistent backmarker, with a fifth-place finish in 2017 being the best result of the last five seasons. They have finished last place in the Constructors’ Championship three times since 2018.

Will Williams Continue To Use Mercedes Engines?

Williams will continue using Mercedes engines until at least the end of the 2025 season. Williams originally signed a long-term seven-year contract with Mercedes in 2014, which was extended for a further five seasons in 2021. The deal includes the supply of Mercedes-AMG power units, which feature both the Internal Combustion Engine and the Energy Recovery System (ERS).

The deal was originally signed by Claire Williams, former Deputy Team Principal and daughter of the team’s founder Frank Williams, before she announced her resignation in 2020. In 2020, the Williams family sold their shares to US investment firm Dorilton Capital. Despite this overhaul, the engine supply deal with Mercedes still stands, with no planned changes.

Final Thoughts

Williams use Mercedes engines in F1, and have done since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014. In 2019 they signed a long-term deal with the German manufacturer that will last until the end of the 2025 season. They began using other transferrable Mercedes parts, including gearboxes, in 2022.