A new £8m Williams technical centre, aimed at spreading the skills and know-how of F1 into the wider industry, was opened today by the prime minister, David Cameron
Welcoming the prime minister to the new building in Grove, near Wantage in Oxfordshire, Frank Williams said he was "immensely proud" that the very specific skills possessed by his 600 employees would now be spread more widely.
Williams began doing advanced engineering work as long ago as the Metro 6R4 rally car, and has run a variety of programmes, mostly race-based, recently providing energy recovery systems for Audi and Porsche's Le Mans cars.
Last year's Jaguar C-X75 hybrid supercar featured much Williams technology - in fact, the tech centre building was originally proposed as a works for building a 200-strong production run.
Now, a wide variety of aerospace, automotive and static power generation projects are being brought together in the new centre, under a new management led by managing director Craig Wilson, formerly of TWR.
Williams also recently had a hand in developing Nismo's "time attack" GTR which set a new class record at the Nürburgring. It has also been appointed official battery developer and supplier for the Formula E electric single seater race series, due to begin in September.
After unveiling a plaque at the site, David Cameron told an audience of Williams employees, dignitaries and suppliers that the new tech centre was "the perfect example" of Britain doing what it was good at. "Keep on staying at the top," he advised Frank Williams and his team. "That's how this country is going to succeed"
Boss Craig Wilson says he already has around 150 engineers working on disparate projects, and expects the pace of work to accelerate, now that the new premises are fully equipped and staffed. "We can't say too much about our customers or their projects," he says, "but what makes us special is the culture of speed and confidence we bring from F1. It's more relevant now than ever."
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: