Williams dismisses Honda talk


While the majority of the media is focussed on McLaren's relationship with Honda - most of the opinion that the Woking outfit is on the verge of throwing in the towel and jumping ship to Mercedes, Germany's Blick newspaper took the novel approach of claiming that Williams is to re-partner with the Japanese engine manufacturer.

The Grove outfit enjoyed a four-year relationship with Honda in the mid-80s that netted two constructors' titles and the drivers' title in 1987 for Nelson Piquet.

It was in 1988 that Honda began its legendary partnership with McLaren which resulted in numerous titles whilst Williams subsequently formed another title-winning partnership with Renault.

Reacting to claims that her team is to forsake its customer Mercedes engine supply for Honda, and a generous helping of the Japanese manufacturer's cash, Claire Williams told talkSPORT 2: "We had a fantastic relationship with them back in the 1980s, but I can categorically say that we have not talked to Honda.

"We are not a cause of the break-up," she continued, referring to the claim that her team is the cause of any McLaren-Honda split, "and 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 have a great partnership with Mercedes," she added. "They helped drive us to third place in the championship up from ninth the previous year. They're a fantastic partner and they provide us with a fantastic power unit. I'm not sure why you would look to change that, to a power unit that isn't at that level of competition yet."

Asked about the financial incentive from Honda, she said: "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 again?

"Right now it's too close to those years to go back to them," she concluded, a reference to those many years, from 2006 on, when the Grove outfit was effectively in the F1 wilderness.

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Published: 20/06/2017
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