Honda F1 website

AUGUST 23, 2003

Tony Rudd

Tony Rudd, one of the best known Formula 1 engineers in the 1960s, had died. Rudd first became involved in racing when he was still a teenager, helping out Prince Chula's White Mouse Racing in the late 1930s. His studies were interrupted by World War II when he became a pilot with the RAF, surviving 27 missions over Europe in Lancaster bombers. After the war he became a Rolls Royce apprentice engineer and eventually earned himself a BSc degree, working on aero-engine development. He competed in club races in an Aston Martin and eventually was seconded by Rolls Royce to BRM to oversee the installation of Rolls Royce superchargers on the BRM engines. He stayed at BRM and rose through the ranks and was ultimately responsible for designing the car with which Graham Hill won the 1962 World Championship. That year BRM took the Constructors' World Championship as well.

With the introduction of the new 3-liter formula in 1966 Rudd designed a highly complicated H16 engine which was not a success and, after two poor seasons, this was replaced by a V12 engine which had been designed for sportscar racing. This was not an immediate success and in the middle of 1969 Rudd left BRM and went to Lotus to turn the company into an engine manufacturer as well as a chassis builder. Under his watchful eye Peter Wright developed what would become the first ground-effect car, the Lotus 78. The car was competitive and in 1977 Mario Andretti and his team mate Gunnar Nilsson won four GPs between them. The following year the Lotus 79 dominated Formula 1 with Andretti winning six races and the World Championship and Ronnie Peterson winning twice. Rudd and Wright would later move on to Lotus Engineering, working on automotive technologies and in 1987 Rudd became Group Technical Director of Group Lotus and the deputy chairman of Lotus Engineering. His last F1 engine design was a secret direct-injection turbocharged F1 engine for Toyota in the mid 1980s but this project never came to fruition.

In the summer of 1989 with Lotus in disarray following the arrest of Fred Bushell, Rudd was seconded to Team Lotus to run the F1 operation. He remained in that role until the end of 1990 when the team was sold to Peter Wright and Peter Collins after which Rudd quietly disappeared from F1.