The notion that Chinese-made means low quality and standards is now changing as a Formula One team taps Citic Dicastal to be their wheel supplier for the upcoming 2018 season.
Williams F1 has announced, during the weekend of the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, that they will be working with the aluminum wheel manufacturer, which effectively makes Citic Dicastal the first-ever Chinese brand to produce a component for an F1 racecar.
"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. 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," said Wang Jiong, the vice president of Citic Group.
Citic Dicastal has been making aluminum wheels since 1988 but this is the biggest challenge the company is facing in its decades long history.
"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 wheel should be as light as possible and also of high quality to be used in the top auto events in the world," added Wang.
In 2016, Citic Dicastal secured a technical partnership with Williams that required their wheels to go through stringent R&D Williams Martini Racing before on track product testing begins this year.
"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,” said Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams.
"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',” ended Wang.