The future of Cosworth in F1

There are some serious implications as a result of the Red Bull Racing deal with Ferrari. Cosworth owner Kevin Kalkhoven flew into Imola on Saturday to have a meeting with Dietrich Mateschitz on the subject only to find that Mateschitz has issued a press statement announcing a two-year deal with Ferrari.

This announcement meant that Cosworth could end up with only Minardi in 2006 and that means that the project cannot easily be cost-effective. The option is for Cosworth to find another customer (in theory deals could be possible with Jordan and Sauber) or it could try to find an automobile manufacturer which would be willing to underwrite the F1, using Cosworth technology. There are possibilities in Asia although the old world of car-making in Europe and America offers little opportunity as the existing players would either do it themselves or are too weak to make such an investment.

Funding a V8 design programme is not a problem but going into the production and development phases is where the money will be eaten up and owners Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe must either come up the money to keep the project alive or close it down and lose the people. This would be the last resort because it would be hard for the firm to get back to into F1 if it dropped out as it would lose the good people employed in Northampton. If the new owners are serious about F1 they will be willing to fund a V8 programme in the hope that another customer will emerge. There is talk of new teams in 2007 which could be a source of revenue but at the moment things look bleak: Sauber is expected to have a BMW deal. Jordan and Toyota are not thought likely to continue beyond this year and so Midland F1 has to be seen as a potential target. Logic says that Ferrari is a more likely deal for the Russian-owned team but it is not clear whether this can happen for logistical and contractual reasons.

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