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MEDIA RELEASE/Williams Racing – Photo: supplied

Leading heavy equipment manufacturer Komatsu has signed a multi-year deal with Williams Racing to become the Principal Partner of the British team from the start of the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) season.

There is already a legacy between the two brands, as Komatsu was a key partner of Williams Racing in Formula One during the 1980s and 1990s, a period of abundant success for the team. The relationship began when Sir Frank Williams approached Komatsu to help design and manufacture spiral bevel gear primary drives for the FW11 Williams Honda F1 car, which went on to win the 1987 F1 World Championship in the hands of Nelson Piquet.

The company went on to design, manufacture and supply the gearbox in the famous FW19 Williams F1 car in 1997. The Komatsu transmission helped propel Williams to an extremely successful season, with 11 pole positions, 15 podiums and 8 wins in the year. Ultimately, the Williams FW19 with Komatsu’s gearbox achieved a rare Triple Crown with Williams drivers Jacques Villeneuve & Heinz-Harald Frentzen coming in first and second place in the Drivers’ Championship, with Williams Racing winning the Constructors’ title. Komatsu also supported the team during Damon Hill’s championship-winning season a year earlier in 1996.

While both brands are proud of the history they have made, the goal of the partnership is to make history in a new era from 2024 and beyond.

Tokyo-based Komatsu has been leading innovation in the equipment manufacturing sector for more than 100 years. As embodied by its brand promise, “Creating value together,” the company believes that collaborative partnerships are the optimal way to create a lasting positive impact.

One of the driving forces behind the partnership was the alignment of vision that the two brands share. The characteristics embedded in Komatsu’s DNA and values, such as cutting-edge technology, outstanding quality and unwavering reliability, are all demonstrated by Williams Racing at the highest level of motorsport. This new partnership creates a foundation for cross collaboration between Williams and Komatsu into the future, and we look forward to working together across a range of disciplines, especially relating to the development of our people and exploring potential opportunities in the technical engineering ecosystem.

Komatsu’s logo and branding will feature prominently on Williams’ 2024 challenger – the FW46 – as well as the team’s overalls and kit during the upcoming Formula One season.

The deal with Williams Racing will not be Komatsu’s only involvement in motorsport in 2024, as the company is also an Official Partner of WRC Rally Sweden. The exhilarating event is hosted in the same city as Komatsu Forest’s head office: Umeå.

With operations in more than 140 countries, Komatsu is a global provider of premium heavy equipment, services and solutions that support customers in industries such as construction, mining, forestry, material handling and industrial machinery. The company introduced the world’s first autonomous dump truck in 2008 and is helping customers advance towards carbon neutrality with its growing range of electric, hybrid and fuel cell construction and mining equipment.

Hiroyuki Ogawa, President and CEO of Komatsu said: Komatsu and Williams Racing have shared values around innovation and the development of our people, and through our partnership we look forward to creating value together, both on and off the track. Our partnership with Williams Racing, is aligned with Komatsu’s mission to create value through manufacturing and technology innovations to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet can thrive together.”

James Vowles, Team Principal of Williams Racing said: “Williams Racing is delighted to be rekindling our relationship with Komatsu. We have enjoyed huge success together in the past and reuniting is a significant step in Williams Racing’s long-term mission to return to the front of the grid. Both Williams and Komatsu are committed to attracting and developing the best young talent in pursuit of our goals and we look forward to working together again.”


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