Mercedes engine advantage was clear a year ago - Williams
Claire Williams says it was clear over a year ago that Mercedes was going to be the best engine supplier to be with in 2014.
Williams switched from Renault to Mercedes power over the winter and appears to have reaped the rewards with impressive pace during pre-season testing. Meanwhile, Renault-powered teams have struggled with reliability and performance, and head into this weekend's Australian Grand Prix with genuine concerns about finishing the race.
"The regulation changes were as they were and we had to do a huge amount of diligence to see where Renault were going to be and where the other engine manufacturers were going to be," Williams said. "I think it became quite obvious earlier last year as to where those manufacturers were in their development stages.
"We did do a lot of work behind the scenes and obviously talked to both Renault and Mercedes about it and we took the decision to go with Mercedes, but it was a really conscious decision. It took a long time, we had the benefit of Toto being at Mercedes, and he's still a shareholder, so we were able to engage with him."
On Thursday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who is also a shareholder in Williams, said it was his responsibility to try to get the factory Mercedes team to come out on top ahead of the customer teams such as Williams. But Williams insists her team is not worried about knocking the factory team off its perch.
"We pay them and we have every right to race them. But the channels are open and that's the way it needs to go. They are a supplier at the end of the day.
"One of the things we have been trying to do at Williams is change everyone's mindset. If you don't win you get stuck in that 'are we ever going to?', so you really have to work with your team to change that and making people believe they can win. It's about putting in the work in order to get that kind of reward.
"When the car was in the position it was in after the first test everyone went 'Ooh, maybe things are changing', and it provides that impetus to make everyone push a little bit harder. So it definitely sharpens the focus, and as testing went on, it still did that. Even now we are here everyone in the garage is pushing to try that little bit harder, and it definitely helps."
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