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Don't rule out Cosworth

NEWS STORY
18/02/2005

It's interesting to note that while there is talk of teams looking at all manner of engine suppliers for 2006 and beyond, nobody is mentioning Cosworth.

This season, both Red Bull and Minardi are using Cosworth power-plants - the Austrian team using the 90 degree CR6 while the Italian outfit will begin the season with the 72 degree CR3, before it too switches to the CR6.

While Renault, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari have been grabbing the headlines, it's worth noting that the Cosworth units in the back of the Red Bulls haven't suffered any failures. Indeed, when one looks a little closer it appears that Cosworth hasn't lost a single engine in ages, with some units running up to 1800 kms.

When David Coulthard set the fastest time of the day at Valencia (27 Jan), there was the usual talk of light fuel loads and 'sponsorship specials', yet it's worth noting that the Red Bull cars have consistently posted times in the top half of the timesheets, never missing a beat.

Coulthard is understood to be delighted with the Cosworth, and considers it to be more drivable than the Mercedes-Benz unit he used last season, while Vitantonio Liuzzi has made similar (favourable) comparisons with the Petronas (Ferrari) engine he ran in 2004.

In the wake of Ford's withdrawal from F1, and the subsequent sale of Cosworth to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, many appear to have presumed that the legendary engine manufacturer might slip quietly away, or at best assume a support role in F1.

Our sources however, tell us that the exact opposite is true, and that the Northamptonshire based company is determined to reassert itself as a leading race engine manufacturer.

Of course the best way to do this would be with on-track results, and therefore it comes as no surprise to hear that there is an air of quiet optimism ahead of the first race of the season.

We hear that the Melbourne-spec CR6 - as used by Coulthard at Valencia - is pushing 900 bhp and is regarded as "bullet-proof". Indeed, we hear that the unit is 60 bhp and 300 rpm up on the unit used at Melbourne in 2004, while a 930 bhp unit should be available by mid-season.

Furthermore, we understand that under Managing Director Tim Routsis, Cosworth has found a whole new lease of life, the company having resolved issues that worked against it in the past, when the engineering and manufacturing divisions appeared to be at odds with one another.

Furthermore, at a time when Ford had frozen all development - in light of its decision to withdraw from F1 - Routsis ordered that work on the V8 project continue. Indeed we hear from a highly reliable source that the V8 has already reached 800 bhp - having successfully completed its first dyno test in November 2004 - with the team convinced that 850 bhp is achievable.

Far from looking to withdraw quietly from F1 and rest on its laurels, it would appear that the Northamptonshire manufacturer is looking to build on its legendary past.

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