MAY 15, 1995

Goddard leaves Cosworth

Geoff Goddard, Cosworth Engineering's chief Formula 1 engine designer, has quit the company after 21 years.

Geoff Goddard, Cosworth Engineering's chief Formula 1 engine designer, has quit the company after 21 years. Goddard's departure may have been motivated by a better offer from elsewhere, but it also indicates that there are stresses and strains in the current Ford Formula 1 program.

The 3-liter Ford Zetec-R engine, which Goddard and his team designed, has not been a success with Sauber, despite some strong showings from German Heinz- Harald Frentzen. The new engine package, however, is nowhere near as competitive as last year's Benetton-Ford combination which helped Michael Schumacher win the Drivers' World Championship.

According to our sources at Cosworth in Northampton, England, Goddard is unlikely to be the last engineer to leave as there is clearly a fair amount of discontent at the way the company's F1 program is being run. Cosworth is currently owned by the Vickers group, a public company listed on the London stock exchange. Cosworth is thus required to make as much profit as possible for the shareholders. As a result, budgets have been restricted.

After Vickers bought Cosworth, it appointed Chris Woodwark, a bright young manager from Vickers, to be its chief executive. Woodwark successfully galvanized the company, and he was largely responsible for getting Cosworth into action to help Michael Schumacher win the Drivers' World Championship last year.

Since then, however, Woodwark has been appointed chief executive of Rolls Royce - another Vickers subsidiary - and he is currently holding down both jobs as Vickers tries to decide who will run Cosworth. There are two basic courses of action: the first being to promote an existing Cosworth manager; the second is to appoint another manager from Vickers and hope he can be as effective as Woodwark.

The need for Cosworth to make money, however, will increase the costs of Ford customer engines and the Zetec-R which Ford supplies exclusively to Sauber. The Swiss are struggling badly this year, and while the Sauber chassis is taking most of the blame, it is clear that the 1995 3-liter engine is not nearly as good as the 3.5-liter used last year.

There is also discontent among Cosworth customers. Minardi is suing Cosworth, claiming that it did not receive good enough engines in 1994 in exchange for the $4.2 million it was forced to pay out. There is also reported to be widespread unrest about the 3-liter Ford ED customer engines being supplied this year.

In Spain yesterday, Simtek issued a press release contradicting stories in the Italian press that the ED engines are not competitive and denying that it was responsible for anonymous quotes to this effect which appeared in the Italian papers.

Goddard is tipped to have been recruited for a new job with Tom Walkinshaw Racing's engine department at Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England. TWR has a production engine division, which is currently building DB4 engines for Aston Martin, and a racing engine division which looks after Walkinshaw's Volvo touring car team.

Goddard may be joining TWR to work on the design of a high-performance engine for a sporty Volvo which Walkinshaw is planning to build for the Swedes, but he might also be being recruited to design an F1 engine which Walkinshaw would then sell to a major motor manufacturer.