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GP Week : Issue 124
Silverstone seeking private investors One of the biggest stories to emerge in the run-up to the British Grand Prix was confirmation of the rumours that Williams and Renault had reignited their legendary – and championship-winning – partnership. “For Williams, it has been a strategic priority to align ourselves with world-class automotive companies,” chairman Adam Parr said at the team’s Grove headquarters. “Just two months ago we announced our partnership with Jaguar to create the C- X75 supercar together – a project that we both expect will lead onto a more general collaboration on high-performance road vehicles. “ Today, we have announced a partnership with Renault,” Parr continued. “ They are not only making a championship- winning engine, but they are independent, totally committed to Formula One and, of course, there is a resonance and heritage to Williams-Renault that creates a real buzz for both of us. So, in a short period we have signed two critical partnerships which will (literally and figuratively) power us forwards in coming years. “ This partnership is for the long-term,” Parr asserted. “It will see Renault provide Williams with its championship-winning RS27 V8 engines for 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, we are already working on an extension for the new engine formula which arrives in 2014.” Bernard Rey, president of Renault Sport F1, was pleased to note that his operation will power one-third of the paddock in the 2012 season. “From 2012 onwards the fact that we will have four partners puts us ahead of other engine manufacturers in terms of market share, but off track it will also enable us to further use Formula 1 as a marketing platform for our parent company, Renault, to try to bring a bit of this association to our fans and our customers worldwide. “O f course there’s also a great pride in reviving the Williams-Renault name,” Rey added. “ Together, we produced racing cars that are recognised for their technical innovation and it is still Renault’s most successful period in F1 to date. It’s a hugely exciting opportunity for both Renault and Williams.” Williams-Renault back in business THe British Racing Drivers’ Club has given up on the idea of government funding for the British Grand Prix, its representatives told GPWeeK at Silverstone. Despite the benefits of the motorsport industry to the British economy, the way in which it publicly promotes engineering to a wider audience, and the tens of thousands of jobs it provides, successive governments have balked at the notion of contributing to the cost of hosting the best known event on the British motorsport calendar. Having spent years trying to convince politicians of the wisdom of supporting Silverstone, the BRDC will now be looking for private investors to help the track develop further. The next stage of development will see the construction of two on-site hotels, a museum, and what’s being referred to as an “entertainment infrastructure”. BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt said: “We are seeking investor partners to move forward with the next part of the development, which should go before planning authorities at the end of the month. But we have stressed via a legally binding proviso that Silverstone must always be a centre for motor racing.” 10