Cosworth upbeat about F1 future despite losing Williams
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, July 15th 2011, 10:04 GMT|
Cosworth believes its future in Formula 1 is more secure now than it has been for several months, despite Williams opting to switch to Renault engines for next year.
The Northampton-based engine builder says the current deals it has in place for next year, further opportunities for new customers in 2013 and a Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) on engine development for 2014 have left it very optimistic about its future in the sport.
"At Monaco time there was a lot of uncertainty over the inline-four, and we needed a powerful lobby to push for it to be delayed or cancelled," Cosworth's general manager Mark Gallagher told AUTOSPORT.
"We were very nervous that, if the pendulum swung to the inline-four definitely happening, we were very concerned about it, because there was no RRA built around it and we could see a space race happening.
"Among our teams, Hispania, Virgin and Williams, there was no apparent appetite to commit to the inline-four, certainly with Cosworth.
"So when you don't have guaranteed customers and when you don't have stability on the cost control; it was a nervous time for us as an independent manufacturer. But now the landscape has changed and it is a very good thing."
Gallagher says that Cosworth's business plan in F1 still makes perfect sense with just Virgin Racing and HRT for next season, and that further added customers in the future will only be a bonus.
"We have Marussia Virgin Racing and Hispania for next season, which is the last year of their three-year contracts," he said. "With the V8s being extended for another year our intention is to extend agreement and also seek new agreements for 2013, so the delay in the introduction of the new engines is beneficial from that point of view.
"Since 1963, Cosworth has had 67 teams that is has supplied engines to, so we are well used to teams coming and going. The business model for the current involvement in F1 was for three new teams - for Campos, US F1 and Virgin Manor.
"When Tim Routsis put those deals together each of them was structured in a way that they would be profitable in their own right, and with a full acknowledgement that whatever the best endeavours of the new teams, the likelihood of them all surviving was probably debatable.
"So having four teams last year, three teams this year and two teams next year, actually overall the three year plan is fine."
Gallagher also hinted that some of the resources Cosworth put in place to operate across three teams this year could be focused on boosting efforts with its two partner teams in 2012.
"The fact that we have two teams next year will not affect our capacity to support those team or our profitability.
"Actually in some ways it may enable us to take the resources applied across three teams and apply it to two teams, which is important at a time when McLaren Applied Technologies will be bringing a new dimension to the Marussia Virgin Programme with Pat Symonds as well. We are already seeing an escalation in the demands from there."
Read more about the next stage of Formula 1's engine debate here.