JULY 26, 2005
The engine puzzle at Williams
There have been a lot of reports in recent days suggesting that Williams has a deal with Cosworth for 2006. This may be so but we still believe that the deal is contingent on whether or not Toyota renews with Jordan F1. There are a number of issues involved in all of this: political, legal, financial and in relation to such dull things as engineering and production issues.
There is no chance at all that Williams will renew with BMW.
Cosworth makes sense in that the company has the most experience of all in V8 technology and could have an advantage next year while the other big combines catch up. Having said that, Toyota is also a good choice in terms technology and also it is important from a marketing point of view. Having an interim year with Cosworth does not look good from a marketing point of view.
Toyota prides itself on its corporate honesty and thus an agreement with Jordan which must be completed by the end of July is a deal, as far as they are concerned. But what happens if Jordan does not deliver the money in the time available? Strategically, there is no value at all in Toyota supplying its engines to a team that cannot use them properly. A deal with Jordan makes no sense from a marketing point of view. A Williams deal with Lexus makes a lot more sense. It is worth noting that Frank Williams spent a few days between the British and German GPs in Los Angeles, home of the Lexus HQ.
Team sources at Jordan say that money is available for next year's engines - which might be of interest to the suppliers who are still waiting for overdue bills to be settled - but the Toyota situation remains unresolved and time is running out. The intention appears to be to do a deal with Jordan but this has not stopped rumours that the is for sale and these are so well-developed that there is even a price tag of $66m. There are several possible buyers out there. We hear that there may be as many as four groups currently in the market to buy teams - although it is not clear how serious any of them really are.
The other question which needs to be addressed by the management at Jordan is whether or not Toyota is actually the best option because the team could pay for Cosworth engines and perhaps get a more competitive package. The one thing that can be said with some certainty is that Williams and Jordan will have either Toyota or Cosworth engines next year. It is just a matter of which team gets which engine.
In 2007 Williams will have Toyotas.
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