Christopher Willoughby

Having completed a degree in automotive engineering, Englishman Christopher Willoughby was recruited to join Cosworth Engineering in 1990 as a development engineer. The following season he was involved in the World Sportscar Championship, Jaguar having badged Cosworth HB V8 engines for Ross Brawn's XJR-14 sportscar. The program resulted in Teo Fabi winning the Drivers' title and Jaguar winning the team championship. At the end of that year Jaguar pulled out of the series and Willoughby was transferred into the Cosworth Formula 1 development program, working on the dynos at Cosworth's headquarters in Northampton.

In 1993 McLaren found itself without an engine deal when Honda withdrew from F1 and a hasty deal was agreed with Ford for the supply of customer engines, through its subsidiary, Cosworth. Willoughby was put in charge of the McLaren engine supply and with Ayrton Senna driving, the team managed to win five victories while the Ford factory team Benetton won only one race. This success led to Willoughby being appointed to lead the Cosworth team which was working with Benetton in 1994. The result was World Championship victory for Michael Schumacher.

Although Cosworth engines enjoyed less success after Benetton switched to Renault at the end of that year, Willoughby continued with Cosworth, working on the various engine development programs. At the end of 1996 the company underwent major restructuring with a new generation of engineers being promoted: Nick Hayes was put in charge of engine design and Willoughby in charge of research and development. The aggressive new approach resulted in the rapid development of the Ford V10 Zetec-R and at the start of 1999 of the all-new Cosworth CR01.