Protests of continuing alleigance to F1 engine suppliers Cosworth were quick to come from Williams and Lotus last week after Renault made it clear that they have the capacity to supply another two teams in 2011 and speculation began racing to the effect that these two British teams would be at the head of the queue.
There are obviously no grounds to doubt the sincerity of the stance taken by Williams and Lotus, although a trawl of the history book teaches us that both those teams have enjoyed considerable success with both those engine suppliers. Lotus, of course, were in at the very start of Cosworth’s F1 career with Jimmy Clark, giving the legendary type 49 – powered by Keith Duckworth’s seminal DFV – its maiden victory at Zandvoort in 1967. Since then Lotus won five constructors’ championship using Cosworth power while Ayrton Senna came close to winning the 1986 title crown in a Lotus-Renault turbo.
Williams, meanwhile, used Cosworth engines to power them to their first two world championships with Alan Jones in 1980 and Keke Rosberg in 1982. Then with Renault they put an arm-lock on the championship for Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997).
In the end, of course, just as in politics, a week is a long time in motor racing. Red Bull is currently running away with the 2010 world championship using Renault power. So at the end of the day you can put money on the fact that at least one team will pay up to use some of the available French V8s in 2011. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be Cosworth loyalists Lotus or Williams.