Pollock to return to F1 as engine supplier
|By Jonathan Noble and Simon Strang||Wednesday, May 4th 2011, 21:34 GMT|
Former BAR team principal Craig Pollock is to return to Formula 1 in 2013 as the head of a new customer engine supply company.
Pollock has launched PURE, which stands for Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d'Energie, to provide teams with power-units that comply with the new 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine regulations that come into force that year.
A team of management and technical partners have been recruited for the project - including former Renault F1 managing director Christian Contzen and aerospace expert Robin Southwell.
PURE has contracted TEOS Powertrain Engineering - which is half-owned by Mecachrome and half by IFP Energies Nouvelles - to help design and produce the engines.
Speaking about the plans, Pollock said: "The vision for PURE is to be a leader in the development of the next generation power train technology which must respond to the demands for a cleaner environment.
"The 2013 F1 power train regulation changes offer PURE an immediate platform to field test and validate future technologies for implementation in other industries."
Pollock believes that the unique nature of PURE's make-up will allow it to provide competitive engines at a lower price than other suppliers when it enters the sport.
"The reality is that if you have 400-450 employees such as Mercedes have or 300 in the case of Renault - then your overheads are extremely high," he told AUTOSPORT in an exclusive interview.
"The way that we are doing this and the reason that we can spend a little bit less money than the manufacturers is that we put together the engineers, engineering group and the areas of expertise more in an industrial sense.
"Mecachrome will be putting together, manufacturing and constructing the engines - fabricating them. The development is being done by TEOS, IFP and D2T. So we are a very tight team, and being tight means that our costs are an awful lot lower - and that means we should be able to carry over this cost reduction to teams and give them a cost-effective power train."
PURE's engine design is being led by Jean-Pierre Boudy, who worked on Renault's first prototype turbo-charged racing engine in the 1970s and was responsible for Peugeot's F1 engines in the '90s. Pollock added that all the personnel on the project have F1 or Le Mans experience.
"I understand how hard the market it is, but the reality is that the group of people that we have behind the project, and the group of companies behind it too, are not just start-ups," said Pollock.
"This is a brand new engine designed by a company which is half-owned by Mecachrome, so it is not just coming in without any expertise. The expertise to build F1 engines is there. Also the design group has been working in F1 and Le Mans with Peugeot for a long time. They know what they are doing and F1 people know that.
"There is a large-scale sized team of people, but the main designer at the moment - the person driving it forwards - is Boudy. He is ex-Renault and Peugeot and designed all the four-cylinder turbo-charged engines for Renault."
Pollock said that while the PURE corporation's head office is in Switzerland, the core engineering aspects of the project will be in France where the engine will be developed.
Pollock expects to be present in the Spanish Grand Prix paddock at Barcelona and says PURE has already received the support of both Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone: "At the moment we are convinced, as is [FIA president] Jean Todt, as is Bernie Ecclestone, that there is a great need for an independent supplier coming in with a long-term vision.
"And also which has a vision of green technology - we could use the sport as a test bed to derive these technologies and take them in to other fields.
"Todt has been informed and is very supportive, Bernie is fully aware and also supportive – so I will now be participating in the engine meetings. When there is a power train meeting at a grand prix, or whether I will be meeting up with teams to discuss potential contracts in the future – I will be around and about."
Todt, who has pushed hard for the new more fuel-efficient engine formula to be introduced in 2013, said of the project: "We welcome PURE to Formula 1. The rule changes for 2013 have been developed to provide lower cost, greener and more fuel efficient technologies for Formula 1. We wish PURE every success in developing power trains compliant with the new FIA regulations."