MARCH 28, 2009
The return of Cosworth?
The plans for new teams to emerge to boost the F1 grids next year have been boosted significantly by the announcement that the FIA will allow budget-capped teams being allowed to operate for only $42m. The big problem with the plan is that the manufacturers who are not very keen on a budget cap might not be very keen to supply engines to all these new upstart organisations. This means that an alternative needs to be found and the only real option in the short term is to revive the Cosworth F1 programme. The FIA did announce last year that Cosworth would be willing to supply engines to teams at a very reasonable price, but no-one took up the option and the idea of Cosworth's return to F1 seemed to have disappeared, but we hear that the plan is now being revived as new teams begin to form.
Now owned by Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, the Cosworth Racing company has been doing work in various different markets of late, notably the aeropsace, defence and automotive worlds. The old technology division - which did these for Cosworth Racing - has now ceased to be anything to do with the company and is part of the German engineering company Mahle. Cosworth first entered F1 in 1967 when Keith Duckworth designed the DFV for Team Lotus, using Ford money. The DFV and its derivatives won 167 races beginning with its debut event in Holland in 1967. The company remained active in F1 until the end of 2006 when none of the teams wanted to use the engines any longer. The Northampton-based firm lost many of the members of its F1 crew, particularly to the Mercedes-Benz outfit in nearby Brixworth.
The identity of the new teams are still secret at the moment, apart from the USGPE operation that has been announced. It will be interesting to see how many of them come out of the woodwork - and how many of them head down to Northampton to use Cosworth engines.