FORD AND COSWORTH RACING - A LEGENDARY PARTNERSHIP Ford's successful purchase of Cosworth Racing in September 1998 cemented a long standing relationship which began more than 35 years ago and has seen the development of a succession of...
FORD AND COSWORTH RACING - A LEGENDARY PARTNERSHIP
Ford's successful purchase of Cosworth Racing in September 1998 cemented a long standing relationship which began more than 35 years ago and has seen the development of a succession of specialised race engines.
Although Ford and Cosworth have worked closely together in the past Ford was always the customer, but with Ford's purchase of Cosworth Racing the benefits both parties can receive from the partnership are enormous.
Cosworth Racing will have access to the vast resources of the world's second largest car manufacturer. As a result Ford-powered teams in both the FIA Formula One Championship, the Fedex Champ Car Championship and the British Touring Car Championship will benefit from those resources helping Cosworth Racing engineers produce better and more powerful engines. In the end, the benefit will be to the Ford customers who will benefit from these solutions filtering into road car applications.
Ford's initial links with Cosworth were in the early 1960s, when Cosworth was consulted on camshaft and manifold design for the original Ford Cortina GT. In the autumn of 1965 Ford contracted Cosworth Engineering to design and develop two new race engines - a four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine for Formula 2, and a 3.0-litre engine for Formula One.
The first Ford Formula One engine, the V8 DFV, was unveiled in April 1967, and won the first race in which it competed - the Dutch Grand Prix on 4th June 1967. This engine was conceived and designed by Keith Duckworth who founded Cosworth together with Mike Costin in 1958 and it became the most successful Grand Prix engine of all time. When the Ford-Cosworth DFV engine made its winning debut at Zandvoort, it revolutionized the sport since one of the concepts behind the Ford-Cosworth DFV engine was something completely new to the Grand Prix world. For the first time, the idea of the engine forming a structural part of a Formula One car was introduced - an idea that remains fundamental to Formula One construction even today. The Ford-Cosworth DFV engine and its derivatives went on to win 155 Grands Prix. The final win came as late as 1983, when Keke Rosberg claimed victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, just before Formula One entered the turbo era in the mid 1980's.
The relationship between Ford and Cosworth remained strong and produced a series of turbo-charged and normally-aspirated Grand Prix engines, culminating in the Ford Zetec-R V8 which carried Michael Schumacher to the Formula One World Championship for Benetton-Ford in 1994. With 174 Grand Prix victories, 13 Drivers' World Championships and 10 Constructors' World Championships, Ford has a record unequalled by any other engine manufacturer.
In 1996 Ford and Cosworth re-affirmed their commitment to Formula One by joining forces with three-times World Champion and long-time Ford partner Jackie Stewart and his son Paul in the all new Stewart-Ford team.
The focal point of the whole Stewart-Ford programme is the continued development of the V10 engine which made its Grand Prix debut in 1996. The 1999 season will see the debut of a brand new Formula One engine, the Ford-Cosworth CR-1 - the third Formula One engine in as many years.
Prior to its acquisition by Ford, Cosworth Racing was one of four divisions within the Cosworth group. It is widely understood that Ford will allow the business to continue its own uniqueness and independent identity, much as it has with other Ford-owned companies, like Jaguar and Aston Martin.
Early November saw Neil Ressler, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Research and Vehicle Technology for Ford , appointed Chairman of Cosworth Racing. Ressler also recently joined the board of Stewart Grand Prix as a non-executive director.
Ressler's appointment underlines Ford's commitment to move forward with its world wide motorsport programme at a rapid pace and help Cosworth Racing to play a key role in the integration of Ford's advanced vehicle technology programmes.
Cosworth Racing's interim Managing Director, Dick Scammell MBE, is working with Ressler to oversee the transition of Cosworth Racing into its new position as a fully-owned Ford subsidiary. Nick Hayes will continue as the Programme Director for the Ford and Cosworth Racing Formula One programme in 1999.