Honda website
Honda website

DECEMBER 26, 2000

Walter Hayes dies

WALTER HAYES, the man who funded the construction of the Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine in the early 1960s, has died at the age of 76. Hayes worked for the Ford Motor Company for over 30 years and ended up as chairman of Aston Martin and a Vice-Chairman of Ford Europe.

The son of a printer, Hayes began his career as a journalist and in the mid 1950s had risen through the ranks to become editor of the Sunday Despatch. He joined Ford in 1962 and began to support the Cosworth Engineering company which had been established in 1959 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth. Hayes decided to fund the design and construction of a new Ford engine for the 3-liter Formula 1 and the DFV won its debut race in Holland in June 1967 and went on to win another 154 victories in Grand Prix racing. The engine was still competing in F1 in 1982 and its derivatives - such as the DFX and the DFY - were also very successful around the world.

Hayes was also behind the development of the GT40 sportscar which brought Ford success in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

He remained an important name in Ford Europe until the mid 1980s when he retired but he was brought out of retirement in 1989 when Ford purchased Aston Martin and played an important role in reviving the ailing company with the DB7 model.