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F1 needs independent engine supplier says former Cosworth boss


Like the first Lark of Spring, one can almost set one's watch by the annual chorus from Red Bull as the Austrian team threatens to leave the sport unless its latest demands are met.

For the last few years these demands have centred on its search for an engine supplier capable of providing the Austrian team with an engine capable of winning the world championship and at a nice price.

Already, we have heard from the usual suspects that unless such a supply can be found the team may have to reconsider its future in F1.

Former Cosworth boss, Mark Gallagher, believes that such a supplier would not also benefit Red Bull but also the likes of McLaren.

While there remains a question mark over the competitiveness of the RB13, most of the blame for Red Bull's lack of success this season is being laid at the door of Renault.

Though the French manufacturer took a significant step forward last year, certainly compared to the disaster that was 2015, it has not built on that improvement thus far this season.

Furthermore, having put together its own works team, Red Bull is concerned that the French manufacturer will have its own agenda.

Gallagher believes that this, combined with the fact that the relationship between Red Bull and Renault has already soured, leaves the door wide open to an independent engine supplier and that this would be in the Austrian team's best interests.

"Red Bull Racing is hamstrung by the fact it doesn't have a works engine," says Gallagher in Sky Sports F1 Report. "Even though it has a very good and strong engine supply from Renault, Renault has its own team and you have to believe that ultimately that's their focus.

"Red Bull Racing should not play second fiddle to anyone on engine supply," he continues, "and I passionately believe they deserve to have their own unique supply of engines.

"Not just a customer engine," he insists, "but an engine that is specific and bespoke to them because the reality is that that is such an important component in contemporary F1 and you can't just have a plug and play engine like some Duracell battery. You need something that is integral to the entire decision and is part of a concept."

Indeed, the Irishman believes his former employers could fit the bill.

"I'm a huge fan of what Dr Marko is saying, that they need an independent supplier in Formula 1," he says. "But they need an independent supplier who can then develop bespoke solutions for a team like Red Bull. The capability is there with companies like Cosworth to do that."

Gallagher also believes McLaren would benefit from such a move, claiming that the cash lost in terms of funding from Honda could be balanced out by the prize money earned as the Woking team finally starts winning points.

"I look at the struggles of McLaren and I look at the struggles of Red Bull and I think why are you struggling when actually there are providers available who for a budget that you wouldn't even bat an eyelid at regarding aerodynamic development you could actually begin the process of putting together your own engine programme.

"I think there's a mind-set around it," he admits. "Let's be clear: McLaren want Honda's money as much as they want Honda's engine. Obviously an independent supplier will not be supplying bundles of cash.

"But you have to say to yourself 'at what point does the trade-off of not scoring World Championship points and ending up with much less prize money counter the fact that you're being paid money by the car manufacturer?'"

It was 50 years ago that Cosworth revolutionised the sport when it introduced the DFV, which - in the back of a Lotus driven by Jim Clark - won first time out, at Zandvoort.

Over the years that followed, Cosworth notched up a further 175 wins - second only to Ferrari - powering 13 world championship winning drivers and 10 championship winning teams.

In 2010, having left the sport a couple of years earlier, Cosworth returned to F1 having won the tender put out by FIA president Max Mosley following Honda's withdrawal.

Indeed, the Cosworth was mandatory for the three new teams entering the sport that season - Hispania, Lotus and Virgin - and was used by Williams as well.

By 2013, only Marussia was using the Cosworth and by the end of that year it had agreed a deal with Ferrari for its 2014 supply and Cosworth withdrew.


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1. Posted by Paul C, 15/06/2017 22:10

"Bring in Cosworth to work on the Honda Power Unit and its miscellaneous bits. Maybe a different set of engineers can make a sad lump work. Cosworth did miracles with a crappy aluminum Chevy Vega engine. A new bunch of engineers is better than Toto Wolff asking his engineers to fix the Honda PU and their own unit. "

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2. Posted by airman1, 10/06/2017 14:55

"@ gets tiresome to hear comments about "fizzy drinks". Does it matter what parent company does? I'll bet that McLaren would do just fine without their F1 team, with the rest of their business booming? Same is for Ferrari and Mercedes...really out of the big teams, I see only Williams in a predicament of "needing" an engine, they have no business "on the side" the size and scope of Ferrari and McLaren, Mercedes needn't be mentioned even. Every team in F1 needs to have a fair shot at winning, every last one of them. Whether they would depends on many factors, but they need to know, when they enter that withing 3-4 years they could win, maybe sooner. And I will tell you this, if McLaren does not secure an adequate engine for the next season, as shockingly as it may sound, they will pull out of F1. Maybe not now, but they will...because they have a business to run and cannot afford F1 eating in it. Same is with RBR...why would they stay if there are no results? Why did McLaren stayed all these years? Because it had results...they were competitive until recently, so if there is nothing on the horizon why would they stay? Every last team will leave F1 if there is no financial interest for them to stay."

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3. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 09/06/2017 16:26

"@ spindoctor - Google developed Android, and supply phones for their own cell-phone system (Project Fi). Software AND hardware.

As for RBR - maybe you forgot all the histrionics coming from Marko, Horner and Mateschitz when their cars were not performing at the front......"

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 09/06/2017 13:35

"McLaren & RBR are completely different companies, just as Google & Microsoft are different, despite competing in many areas. Google is an Advertising company MS makes software. RBR is part of a PR machine designed to get teenagers to drink disgusting fizzy caffeine drinks; whereas McLaren is a full-fledged F1 Team, and part of one of the World's most ambitious and successful car-making companies.
This means that their needs (in terms of Engine\PU supply) differ quite a lot.

RBR's interests lie in maximizing the attention paid to their Logo\Livery, preferably, but not necessarily, while the car is leading. The technology and Engineering challenges are of secondary importance to the parent company.
McLaren want to win, and nothing else matters. They are 1st & Foremost and Engineering\Technology company and those interests have driven the company ever since its formation by Bruce McLaren and throughout the Ron Dennis era.

RBR would be perfectly happy poodling around with a bloke pedaling, as long as the TV Cameras stay on the car, and "Red Bull" is repeated often enough on-air. They'd be happy enough with some "customer engine" as long as it were cheap and sufficiently powerful to keep their Brand Awareness ratings high.

McLaren simply wants to be the best, and that implies, almost by definition, a customized Power package, the development of which they have influenced.

It seems to me, therefore, that this idea is something of a non-starter."

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5. Posted by airman1, 09/06/2017 6:32

"If the engine "formula" does not significantly change after 2018, it is hard to expect that anyone, other a major car manufacturer would be even capable of providing the independent engine, given the complexity of the PU as it is today. Not sure why would anyone would want to get involved, given the troubles Honda has, which is really a huge demotivating factor for all possible manufacturers. I am not even sure that had the current manufacturers knew about the trouble and hardship, and cost, these PU's would incur, that they would have gone this route. Magnificent as these PU's are, and they are truly the most pinnacle of the "pinnacle of the motor-sport" that the sport has ever produced, they are expensive, hard to live with, and fidgety to the point of a soprano diva. And that brothers and sisters petrol heads (or gear heads) is not something any manufacturer is too happy to live by. "

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6. Posted by TokyoAussie, 09/06/2017 4:57

"It was 50 years ago today, that Cosworth taught the band to play, they're been going...

er, ... sorry"

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7. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 07/06/2017 16:27

"50 years (and a couple of days) since that first win - I still well remember the BBC's coverage, although truncated, and jumping up and down at the finish when Clark had won - they discovered afterwards that his engine had also broken a tooth in a timing wheel, just luck that it hadn't expired."

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8. Posted by edllorca, 07/06/2017 16:17

"It is quite simple. fork over the cash and don't badmouth your partner. Until then stop the whinging/whining"

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9. Posted by the dodger, 07/06/2017 15:40

"I note that Red Bull are not happy with Renault engines, that RB are near the front of the grid and Renault are at the back, so RB must have a good car far better than Renault, Maybe they should be thankful how well they are doing compared to the works team. Stop moaning and get on with it. "

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