Reportedly, a deal has already been closed and it would pertain to Alpine supplying engines to Williams and in return, it would become a customer.
The Williams F1 team which came under the ownership of New York-based venture capital group Dorliton Capital could reportedly receive investment from Renault and become the junior team for the Alpine F1 team. Currently, Williams shares a strong technical partnership with Mercedes with it using many parts including the engine and gearbox from the main team. Mercedes junior driver George Russell also drives for the team. However, all of this could change. Renault which rebrands to the Alpine sub-brand in F1 also loses McLaren as an engine customer in 2021. This means Renault has no engine customers. Renault’s junior drivers like Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard have also not graduated to F1 in 2021 as there are customer relationships.
On the flip side, Red Bull/Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari all have their junior drivers in F1 in 2021 via various relationships. Now, Renault group CEO Luca de Meo has told Italian publication La Gazzetta Sport that having an engine partner and perhaps needs a junior team.
“The ambitions are great and it is very clear to De Meo, as well as to anyone who understands motorsport, that as long as Alpine is on its own, it will not be able to compete on equal terms with Mercedes, which has three customers (McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams), with Ferrari (Alfa Romeo and Haas) and with Honda (Red Bull and Alpha Tauri),” the paper said.
Reportedly, a deal has already been closed and it would pertain to Alpine supplying engines to Williams and in return, it would become a customer outfit and open up avenues for Renault junior drivers.
This scenario could particularly spell doom for Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas who doesn’t have a contract for 2022. If Renault forces out George Russell who is already been tipped for a Mercedes seat in 2022, Bottas could be the loser considering Nicholas Latifi also brings in substantial sponsorship from his father’s company Sofina.
This partnership will also give Renault more data for the development of its engine as the Honda engine gets two teams, Mercedes gets four teams and Ferrari three teams.