Prime Minister opens Williams’ new R&D centre

11 July 2014
By Edd Gent
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Left to right: Williams team principal Sir Frank Williams, Prime Minister David Cameron and group CEO Mike O’Driscoll [Credit: Williams]

Left to right: Williams team principal Sir Frank Williams, Prime Minister David Cameron and group CEO Mike O’Driscoll [Credit: Williams]

Prime Minister David Cameron has officially opened Williams' new £8m advanced engineering facility at the team's Formula One headquarters in Grove.

The research and development site will accommodate up to 250 design engineers and features a groundfloor workshop with Formula One-inspired build bays that can be used for one-off projects or low-volume production. The new site also features a number of confidential rooms where projects can be worked on in complete secrecy.

Williams Advanced Engineering has been operating since 2011 and uses expertise gained from Formula One to provide clients with cutting-edge automotive, transport and energy solutions.

The firm was responsible for developing the Jaguar C-X75, one of the most sophisticated hybrid supercars ever made, and is the sole supplier of the batteries that will power the cars competing in Formula E, the world's first fully-electric racing series.

Via Williams' F1 expertise, the company is also using its flywheel energy storage technology on energy grids in the Scottish highlands in a project backed by the government's Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister said: "Formula One is a world beating, hi-tech industry and I am very proud Britain and British engineers and designers play such a key role within it.

"Williams opening their advanced engineering facility is great news for the local area and a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a better future for Britain."

Williams Group CEO Mike O'Driscoll believes the company is playing its part, not just in aiding the car industry, but also in tackling the ongoing energy issue.

O'Driscoll said: "Williams' diversification programme has achieved much over the past few years and from here I expect Williams advanced engineering to make rapid progress.

"Improving energy efficiency is an important global concern and we are confident Williams has the unique know-how and resources to play an important role in tackling this issue."

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"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

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