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Williams considered engine switch says co-owner

Williams’ third co-owner has admitted the British team considered changing engine suppliers for the 2011 season.

Lotus is set to switch to Renault power at the end of the season, but Cosworth has announced that its other existing partners – Williams, HRT and Virgin – are staying put.

In an interview with Kleine Zeitung newspaper, Austrian Toto Wolff – who has a minority stake in the Frank Williams and Patrick Head co-owned team – admitted there have been disappointments in 2010.

“In a sporting sense, the beginning of the season was difficult because the expectations in the team were very high,” he said.

“Maybe we were a little bit too optimistic about the engine,” admitted Wolff.

Reports earlier this year said Williams was disappointed with the Cosworth V8, and had held talks with potential alternative supplier Renault.

Wolff hinted that the engine situation was indeed “discussed” within the Grove based team, but “not seriously considered”.

“In the last weeks Cosworth has found its stride,” he said.

And there are other problems for Williams, former racing driver and businessman Wolff insists.

“Above all the teams’ agreement about personnel restrictions was too loose,” he said.

“This was a disadvantage for us, so now it should be precisely formulated for a reasonable cost base for 2011,” added Wolff.

“The team is going well economically and was – and is – profitable,” he insisted.

“Williams is losing two sponsors next year but there are good discussions with potential new partners.”

Wolff also indicated that, alongside Rubens Barrichello, German rookie Nico Hulkenberg is set to stay at Williams next year.

“Of all the young drivers he is probably the best at the moment,” he said.  “He is actually remarkable; only the experience is missing.

“I feel quite comfortable with this driver combination.  My word has at least as much weight as the others on the board, and this applies to the drivers as well.”

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