…Than 9th …
Former world champions Williams have quickly dismissed suggestions they could revive a Formula One partnership with Honda if McLaren decide to split from the Japanese manufacturer.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said the team was happy with its Mercedes power units and there had been no talks with Honda.
“We had a fantastic relationship with them back in the 1980s, but I can categorically say that we have not talked to Honda,”
she told TalkSPORT2 radio in a show to be broadcast on Thursday 21st June.
“We are not here ready with a press release saying we are joining forces with them in 2018. We haven’t talked to them,”
“We all know that Honda do put a huge amount of money at McLaren but when I weigh up the pros and cons, would I rather have the budget we have and be the fourth quickest car or have a huge amount of money and finish P9 (ninth) again?”
Williams finished fifth overall last year, down from third in 2015. They are currently sixth 22 points in front of McLaren (who are still to score a single point) and six points away from 5th place Torro Rosso. Without a huge change in form in the last two thirds of the season Williams are unlikely to climb much further than the Italian team to catch Red Bull.
Honda have already announced they will supply the Sauber team with engines next year but Swiss tabloid Blick, citing rumours from England, suggested Williams could become the Japanese manufacturer’s main factory focus.
The dominant Williams and Brazilian Nelson Piquet won the 1987 world championship with Honda engines before they lost their engine supply to McLaren. Honda powered cars (winning 11 of the 16 rounds of the same year) Did Frank Williams credit the power unit or the later banned active suspension they ran alongside Senna’s Lotus?
The following year McLaren Honda destroyed the rest of the field with a record 199 points and an astonishing 10 1-2 finishes from 16 rounds. The Best Williams-Judd could managed was seventh with a Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese driver lineup
Looking passed Honda’s current form I wonder if previous relations between Williams and Honda could be a factor in the team quashing rumours so fast? They certainly seem well used to abrupt endings. All a Williams smokescreen? Well Honda has proved the most effective suppliers of them lately.