Although Cosworth's future in Formula 1 had been subject to doubt following Ford's withdrawal from the sport at the end of last season, the buyout of the operation by Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven and a reorganization of its structure under managing director Tim Routsis appears to have paid dividends.
The sources claim that the TJ2005-specification engine that RBR will start the season with is producing around 910bhp – which is as good if not better than some of the big name manufacturers who are publicly proclaiming how strong their engines are. Further steps are expected by the start of the European season, when Minardi will also have access to the engines.
It is understood that the 910bhp figure is up to 45bhp more than last year's Cosworth engine was producing – at a time when several engine manufacturers have struggled to match last year's results because of the change in engine regulations.
Furthermore, the jump in horsepower has not come at the expense of engine reliability. Although some teams are struggling with reliability, with Honda most famously having yet to complete the magic 1300km distance required for two race weekends, Cosworth engine has already completed 1800km on the dyno – 200km more than its own target of 1600km.
Although no one at Cosworth was available to speak publicly about the figures, one source close to Red Bull Racing said: “Cosworth has developed a Formula 1 engine this season that is in excess of 45bhp up on last year – and we have only had to limit our engines by around 5bhp to achieve engine life. Cosworth is back post-Ford and marching forwards very clearly."
On the back of the promising results from its 2005 engine, Cosworth has also already put its 2006 V8 engine on the dyno, and initial reports suggest it could be producing around 850bhp – which is almost certain to make it a very attractive proposition for potential future customers. [Editor's Note: 850 HP is significantly above the target the FIA set of around 700 to 750 HP. If the V8 is already making 850 HP, it will be at 900 HP by this time next season, which is about where they are with today's V10.]