Chinese manufacturer to enter F1 in 2018

Updated 2017-04-10 09:30:39 Xinhua

The Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix of 2017 featured a local manufacturer of automotive wheels - Dicastal, part of the Citic Group-strengthen the cooperation with Williams F1 team, as the two parties announced here on Sunday that Dicastal will be the tyre supplier of the top F1 team.

Wang Jiong, the vice president of Citic Group, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency that this cooperation not only means a huge step for Dicastal, but also be of great significance for Chinese manufacture industry.

“Chinese manufacturers were often regarded as resource-intensive or labor intensive ones, but lack of competitiveness in high-tech products. As one of the stated-owned enterprise, we felt obliged to change the stereotype of Chinese manufactures and try to compete with foreign companies in some high-tech areas,” said Wang.

“In terms of automobile industry, there is no doubt that F1 is the top of the industry pyramid. Only the very top manufacturers in the world can become the suppliers of the F1 racing events. We set the goal to enter this area in the year of 2010, I told our staff that we should try to work with world top clients, just F1 racing teams.”

Established in 1988, Dicastal had become the world's leading manufacturer of aluminum wheels. But cooperating with F1 was still a big challenge for them that time as this exciting racing sport has vigorous requirement on auto parts.

“Of course it's not easy to meet the F1 standards, we should improve our techniques to compete with our opponents. Speaking of tires, even one gram can make big difference. The best tyre should be as light as possible and also of high quality to be used in the top auto events in the world.” Wand continued.

Dicastal's efforts were paid back in 2016, as they set up technical partnership with Williams. In their partnership, Dicastal's wheels would go through vigorous R&D (Research and Development) with Williams Martini Racing before on track product testing begins in 2017.

When commenting on the partnership, Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams said:“Here at Williams, we are always looking for the slightest advantage to edge out the competition, and light weighting is fundamental to that. As an organization, Dicastal's dedication to engineering excellence perfectly matches our own and we look forward to working together.”

This year during the Chinese Grand Prix, the relationship went further as Dicastal will be the tyre supplier for Williams since 2018, becoming the first Chinese manufacturer to produce any part of F1 racing cars.

"Our success comes from years of accumulation and innovation. I hope more Chinese manufacturers enter the high-tech areas in the future and convert 'made in China' to 'created in China', Wang said.

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