Cosworth to pickup 5th f1 team?
Cosworth would be able to supply engines to a fifth Formula One team next season but expect competition from Renault, according to manager Mark Gallagher. Renault last week indicated that they were looking to power another team in addition to their own and championship leaders Red Bull, triggering speculation that Cosworth could lose one of their four current customers -- possibly Williams or Lotus.
Gallagher, who heads Cosworth's F1 operations, told Reuters in a telephone interview before Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix that he was sure all four would stay with the British-based company and suggested Renault were more likely to do a deal with a possible new entry.
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) has sought applications to fill the 13th and final slot on the grid, unless anyone else pulls out, after a planned USF1 entry failed to materialize this year.
"The obvious solution (for Renault) is actually the 13th team that is coming into Formula One," said Gallagher. "My gut feeling is that it is probably a Cosworth-Renault competition to supply the 13th team."
Mercedes and Ferrari already supply three teams each. Cosworth's current teams are Williams, HRT, Virgin Racing and Lotus.
Gallagher said providing engines for five teams would be ambitious but feasible, since they would have supplied USF1.
"It certainly wouldn't be a problem to step up to the mark again and do it for next season," he added.
The Northern Irishman, who formerly worked at Jaguar and as marketing chief for Eddie Jordan at the team that now lives on as Force India, said there were a couple of serious candidates capable of filling the 13th slot.
"There are still teams out there that are strong enough," he said. "I think, interestingly, the people this time around have seen what has happened to the new teams, they've seen just how difficult it is.
"I think anyone who is coming forward now comes forward...perhaps with their eyes even more open."
None of the 2010 newcomers, who have all signed three-year engine deals, have scored a point in six races and just getting two cars to the finish has been a victory of sorts.
Gallagher said all three debutants had done an impressive job while Cosworth had delivered what they had promised in terms of reliability and affordability. That just left competitiveness to be addressed.
Former champions Williams, he made clear, were pushing them hard on that.
"The whole reason we jumped at the chance to work with Williams is that when you have a driver like (Rubens) Barrichello, who's proven to everybody that he's still at the top of his game, he was going to tell us exactly what we needed to do to optimize the engine's performance," he said.
"When you are working with people like (Lotus technical head Mike) Gascoyne and (Williams co-owner) Patrick Head, they are able to say 'This is where you need to be at' and we are comfortable that we met or surpassed those targets," he added.
"We have no fear of any other engine in Formula One," added Gallagher. "Of course having been out of Formula One for three years, we are having to do things to get the engine mapping right and the programming to optimize the way the engine delivers its power.
"But we are making improvements literally every race weekend and we are seeing the result of that on the track."
Gallagher also played down talk of an impending flotation of Cosworth, who were sold by Ford to U.S. based motor racing entrepreneurs Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe in 2004.
"This is pure speculation and we kind of accept that this will happen from time to time," he said.
"We are seeing something like 30 percent year on year growth and that's not all down to Formula One. As a result of that we are often the target of various approaches and then you get the media speculation that comes on from that."