Okay, we’ve all heard this one before. Porsche is *this close* to securing a deal to buy half of a Formula One team. Sure, I’ll believe it when I see it. But according to multiple reports, that’s exactly what is happening. After Porsche’s deal to buy half of Red Bull Racing fell through in dramatic fashion, The Mirror in the UK reports that Porsche could be days away from announcing a deal with Williams Racing instead. The legendary team comes with decades of racing history and a storied name, but that’s about it. The team has been a back-of-the-pack runner for the last five seasons, and aside from a brief resurgence in 2014 and 15, has been running in the back half of the grid since the last time it partnered with a German OEM.
Williams has a history with German manufacturers, having been the factory-supported BMW team from 2000 to 2005, and has sort of served as the second team for Mercedes powertrains since 2014. The team has scored just three podiums since the start of the 2016 season, and has seen just one race win in the last seventeen years. This deal obviously can’t be as lucrative for Porsche in the short term as a Red Bull tie-up would have been, but with an injection of capital investment and Porsche engineering, it could be possible to turn Williams around and rebuild the team into championship caliber again. The team has been running a shoestring budget for years, and needs a real kick in the pants to get going again. I had hoped that the Williams family selling the team to American investment firm Dorilton Capital in 2020 would have been what it needed, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Then again, when the team has a decent driver lineup, it can accomplish impressive things. Alex Albon has performed okay in the car this season, and when Nyck de Vries stepped in for a single round in Italy he found himself in the points. The team’s major downfall has been employing Canadian Nicholas Latifi for the last three seasons.
With Audi set to join F1 with the Sauber team, and Porsche jumping in with Williams, both of these teams will have their work cut out for them if they hope to inch closer to the front of the grid. And honestly this might be just the engineering challenge Porsche needs. If any manufacturer can manage the turnaround of a storied F1 nameplate, it’ll be Porsche. If Porsche does manage to get Williams back in the groove again, it’ll gain far more notoriety than if it had jumped in bed with Red Bull and begun winning right out of the gate. F1 is a massive global brand, and this is an opportunity for a long and fruitful partnership. I don’t know what Dorilton’s plans are for Williams, but this could be a huge win for them as well. Putting two racing legends in one car sounds like a win to me. Let’s hope it’s true. And let’s hope they win.