Williams hope Renault deal can boost chances

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The Independent Online

Sir Frank Williams is convinced his team will again scale the heights of glory after rekindling their love affair with Renault.

Powered by the French engine giant in the early-to-mid 1990s, the Grove-based team were virtually unbeatable, winning four drivers' titles, five constructors' championships and 63 grands prix.

They were halcyon days, but long in the past as you have to go back to the final race of 2004 for the team's last victory, a miserable run of 116 grands prix.

In attempting to end the worst period in their history, Williams have now turned to Renault to assist them again, with a two-year supply deal to begin from next season.

"On the face of it, people will assume with Williams and Renault back together it's a great story, and watch the winning happen," said Williams.

"But I remind myself that what we used to achieve with Renault in the '90s is by no means a guarantee for what we perhaps can achieve in the future.

"The Renault engine can win races, does still win races, and now we have ahead of us at Williams a steep mountain to climb, and we will do so.

"How long it will take is another matter, but we are determined to deliver our side of the bargain, and as we do that, to enjoy our Formula One racing.

"Personally I'm really thrilled, delighted and slightly nervous."

Williams' words prefaced a video that highlighted the glory times when Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve were champions.

Mansell, who won 27 races in two separate spells with Williams before taking the title in his final year with them in 1992, is naturally hoping the worst is behind them.

"It's wonderful Williams is now reunited with Renault again when you think of the success of the past," said Mansell.

"But we mustn't dwell on that. It's about success in the future, about concentrating on the car, the package, and hopefully they will be winning races again.

"But this is very exciting for Williams. To be one of four teams to be supported by Renault is quite a coup, so congratulations to the Williams team."

As one of the team's current drivers, Rubens Barrichello would love to be a part of their future, and hopefully return to winning ways again.

Signed by Williams ahead of last season to help develop the team, the Brazilian, who recently turned 39, has been hampered by an uncompetitive Cosworth engine.

But with a Renault behind him, given the fact they powered Red Bull to the title last year and are poised to repeat the feat this year, Barrichello would like to believe the good times lie in wait.

"I was employed by the team to take them back to the top, and this partnership will make it much easier," said Barrichello.

"Of course we're going through a difficult phase, we know why, we're trying to address it and this is a good part of it.

"There's some way to go to be very successful, but hopefully now it's not too long to wait."