Mercedes is holding talks with Williams over a possible deal to supply the Formula One team with engines from 2014, according to the German company’s motorsport chief, Toto Wolff. Mercedes is bound to supply its own team, Force India and McLaren with engines in 2014, but may lose one of them in 2015. McLaren has announced that it will be renewing its partnership with Honda in 2015.
Wolff told reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix that it is clear that Mercedes is losing an engine customer in 2015, noting that the company needs to have at least three customers from 2015 onwards if it wants to have a regular business case.
He remarked that this is why Mercedes is holding discussions with teams, confirming that Williams is one of them. He said that the deal would start in 2014, as “nobody would sign a one-year deal with anybody.”
Renault is currently supplying engines to four Formula One teams, including former champions Williams and defending champion Red Bull. Reports have indicated that Mercedes engines will cost less than what Renault provides. Wolff holds ground in both teams, as he is an executive director at Mercedes F1 and a shareholder in Williams.
His wife Susie is also the development driver for Williams. On Saturday, May 25, 2013, Niki Lauda, non-executive chairman and shareholder in the Mercedes team, and Andy Cowell, Mercedes Benz high performance managing director, were spotted entering Frank Williams' office in the team's headquarters.
Formula One will undergo a significant technical change in 2014 when it phases out the 2.4-liter V-8 engines, replacing them with a new 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged unit with energy recovery systems.