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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Published: 07/06/2017
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