The Williams F1 team has acquired the majority shareholding in Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), raising its 40% stake in the company to 78%. The company has been part of the Williams group since March 2008 when Williams bought the original share of Automotive Hybrid Power. The move was aimed at helping the team to develop a kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) for Formula 1. While other teams developed electrical systems, Williams worked on a unique flywheel concept,w hich aimed to store energy generated as motion in a flywheel. Interest in the system has grown considerably since then, despite the fact that Williams never raced its flywheel KERS. In the course of 2009 the company refocussed its attention on road car applications of the technology and is now in a partnership with Porsche AG to use the system in the new Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. One of the cars recently made its competition debut at the Nurburgring and AT&T Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg last week completed three laps of the Nordschleife on Friday 23 April driving one of the cars. The team is also developing larger infrastructure applications for the technology at its new research facility at Qatar’s Science and Technology Park. Automotive Hybrid Power Ltd was originally set up by Ian Foley, a former Lotus F1 engineer in the early 1990s, who was part of the team developing active suspension at the time.
It is worth noting that there has been a quiet switcharound of roles at Williams in recent months with Adam Parr becoming the chairman of the company. Alex Burns is now the chief executive, while Sir Frank Williams remains team principal.