Color me reactionary but I am a tad surprised with Cosworth’s latest revelation about a new future. You’ll recall that Team Lotus has chosen to leave Cosworth and as Paul and I discussed on the latest podcast and here, I think it is because they need a full system that is reliable. Williams F1 are capable of putting together a full transmission/gearbox assembly for their cars that is reliable but Lotus have struggled with the notion this year. A Renault system would be a potentially good option for them.
Cosworth says that doesn’t matter because they have Williams F1 (yes, I am paraphrasing a tad here). In fact, they mention some “other” teams in the article but it is clearly their relationship with Williams F1 that they are trumpeting. This is odd as I recall Sam Michael very obviously keeping the relationship on a supplier/technical partner basis. Cosworth’s chief executive Tim Routsis said:
“We have very ambitious plans for developing the Cosworth offering for 2013, and we certainly want to be with teams throughout the grid. We want to be winning again.
“The fact that Cosworth got to a point previously where it got associated with the smaller teams, what we called the customer teams, during the manufacturer era, we certainly have huge ambition that we change that.
“We want to be with teams capable of winning the world championship. That’s why the relationship with Williams, and other relationships, will be very important to us.”
If memory serves correctly, Michael played down just how intertwined the relationship is and what it means to be working in a symbiotic fashion with Cosworth. He most certainly made it sound all very pedestrian and denied that Williams F1 would be the banner team for Cosworth in our interview with which can be heard here. Those were early days and perhaps the relationship has grown much stronger over the course of the season. It certainly seems as if Cosworth feels that way.
Cosworth will have to wait until 2013 to unleash their new master plan and like all the other makers of engines, the rules will be brand new and everyone will be starting from the proverbial square one. This means that their inked love of Williams F1 in the AUTOSPORT story is no coincidence as the team can expect two more years of challenges before getting their hands on Cosworth’s 2013 secret weapon. Even that is a gamble as it all boils down to if the get the design right. If they don’t? We’ll, I can’t imagine Williams F1 sticking around.
I am not sure what other engine manufacturers might be speaking with Williams F1 but there are some positives that we saw from as far back as last winter. As you heard in our interview, F1B’s Mark Hallam asked Sam Michael how it felt to be Cosworth’s banner team. He denied the characterization but it is clear they have become such. They have a full engine supplier to work with and if you are going to face Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault; it’s nice to have an engine supplier who can work closely with your team on development. I suggest McLaren might be thinking the same thing but then they may have a friend in Ricardo who could help build the 2013 spec engine–they helped build the MP-12C engine so why not? Who needs Mercedes after all?
It’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket but what options does Williams F1 have? VW? That rumor has been floating around for so long its starting to fester and stink. Cosworth has suggested that working with the new teams was a gamble and they made their contracts stand-alone:
“So we structured our contracts so that they were completely stand-alone. We don’t have any objection to supplying just one team if that’s what it comes to, and we can clearly supply a much greater percentage of the grid if that’s what’s required as well.”
That’s also an interesting point as former FIA President Max Mosley was accused of demanding that any new team must be using the Cosworth option. He also stated prior to the new team application period that at least 4-5 teams had to be using the Cosworth option to make it viable for the engine maker. It appears that Cosworth is proposing to Williams F1 but maintaining an open marriage should the need arise. It seems that Routsis is now happy with just supplying one team and I’ll give you three guesses as to which team that would be–the first two don’t count.
As I said, color me reactionary . just an interesting change of position from the beginning of the year and like everyone else in F1, Cosworth has to change and adapt with the season and performance gains and losses. Both on an off the track.