LONDON (REUTERS) - The Williams Formula One team announced on Tuesday (Jan 5) a switch to gearboxes and hydraulic components provided by engine supplier Mercedes from 2022 in a significant step for the struggling former champions who changed hands last year.
The British team, now owned by US-based Dorilton Capital after the founding family sold up and departed, have scored just one point in the last two seasons despite using the sport's dominant engine.
A proudly independent constructor since 1978, Williams currently design and build their own gearboxes but have also been in decline for years.
They last won a grand prix in 2012 while rivals Racing Point, now renamed Aston Martin, were race winners last year with a car that drew heavily on the title-winning 2019 Mercedes.
The regulations will be undergoing a major overhaul in 2022 and the new deal will allow Williams to focus resources on other areas.
"Williams is an independent team, but Formula One is always evolving, and as a team we must be agile to react to the current climate in order to put the team in the best position to be competitive on track," said principal Simon Roberts in a statement.
"This long-term agreement with Mercedes is a positive step and forms part of our strategic objectives for the future whilst we will still retain our design and manufacturing capabilities in-house."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the expanded technical cooperation made sense for both sides.
"For Williams, it makes sense to acquire the integrated powertrain after running our power units since 2014 and for our team, it makes sense in terms of economies of scale to supply another team under the new rules," said the Austrian.
"This is a project we have been discussing with Williams for some time and I am glad we have been able to bring this extension to fruition."
Williams driver George Russell also has a long-term contract with Mercedes and stood in for Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain last month when the seven times world champion tested positive for Covid-19.