Skip to content

Exclusive: Cosworth seeks return to IndyCar, possible one for F1

Feb 26, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Korea - Practice Getty Images

Cosworth has built a long, established history across open-wheel racing for nearly a half century. But for 2014, a Cosworth engine isn’t on the Formula One grid, and for the seventh consecutive year isn’t in an IndyCar.

That could soon change.

In an exclusive interview with Cosworth Automotive CEO Hal Reisiger, an American who headed Cosworth’s U.S. companies and in the last year has advanced to be the head of the company in the U.K., plans are in the works for a return to at least one of the two championships – potentially both.

When asked by MotorSportsTalk whether IndyCar’s current  2.2L V6 turbocharged engine formula would portend a Cosworth return, Reisiger said it’s something they’re working on.

“We are committed to aligning ourselves with an OEM for an IndyCar engine program,” Reisiger said.

He confirmed he’ll have meetings next week on the possibility, and said it’s something they’re keenly interested in.

“I think that IndyCar wants it, the teams want it; they want another entrant other than the Chevy Illmor and the Honda and miss having the Lotus engine,” Reisiger said.

“We have set a target and a goal of finding an OEM engine partner for an IndyCar. It’s something that’s very high on the list of priorities, and we have the support of IndyCar ourselves in doing so.”

The Lotus engine wasn’t a popular choice in 2012, as it was initially fielded by four teams with five cars (HVM Racing, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold, Dragon Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport). However, all bar HVM ended their association with Lotus by the month of May in Indianapolis, thus leaving Keith Wiggins’ team and Simona de Silvestro to see out the season with the lesser-rated engine.

While the Lotus wasn’t a popular choice, its presence meant that the manufacturers only needed to supply up to 40 percent of the IndyCar field. Once Lotus pulled out and left only Chevrolet and Honda in play, those two had to increase capacity to make up the field.

The 2014 IndyCar grid is likely to see a reduced number of full-time entrants compared to 2013, but that’s not down to the engine manufacturers. Dragon Racing’s departure reduces Chevrolet’s number by two; Panther Racing (Chevrolet) is yet to confirm its plans and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s second Honda is not confirmed for the full season. Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing add a Chevrolet apiece.

Cosworth last powered the Panoz DP01 Champ Car for the 2007 full season, and the engine last appeared in the series’ final race, the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

As for Formula One, Marussia was the last team to field the normally aspirated 2.4L V8 Cosworth at the end of the current development cycle there. But according to Reisiger, it wasn’t the new regulations that prevented Cosworth from building a new 1.6L V6 turbocharged engine. It was simply economics.

“There had been some design work, simulation and analysis done by our engineering staff and there had been some discussions, some of which were fairly recent, about whether there wasn’t a team or teams plural that were willing to sponsor the development,” Reisiger explained.

“But given the scope of the work and budget that’s required, it wasn’t something Cosworth was prepared to undertake independently. If one of those discussions came to fruition, and they still take place, it’s still something we’d be interested in that we’d need to be in collaboration and partnership with an OEM or team or teams.”

So would that leave the door open to an F1 return down the road? In a word, yes.

“Absolutely we would (want to),” Reisiger said. “I think that we provide a very cost-effective solution for people to be on the grid. We have the ability to excel from a performance standpoint. Decisions take place fairly frequently; it’s a matter of whether or not it makes sense for teams, OEMs and/or Cosworth. We’d look forward to the right opportunity if we could find the right collaboration.”

Potential Cosworth programs could also appear in sports car racing and/or another form of motorsport down the road. Further information from our conversation with Reisiger today will follow in a separate post.

Latest Posts
  1. FIA seeking new teams for Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017

    May 28, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    FIA looking for more teams to join the sport in the next two seasons.

  2. Bottas confident Williams will bounce back in Canada

    May 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas  drives at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Williams recorded its first non-score since Brazil 2013 in Monaco, Bottas is sure that the team will respond in Montreal next weekend.

  3. Nissan to race with retro livery on Le Mans LMP1 car

    May 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    © Nissan NISMO © Nissan NISMO

    25 years on from Mark Blundell’s pole position at Le Mans, Nissan pays homage with a retro livery on its third car for the race.

  4. Magnussen unconcerned by Vandoorne’s success in GP2

    May 28, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15:  Kevin Magnussen of Denmark and McLaren Honda waves to the fans during the drivers' parade before the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Magnussen was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2014, but has hopes of recovering his seat in the future.

  5. Lotus rejects claim Grosjean brake-tested Verstappen

    May 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Verstappen 245 Getty Images

    Alan Permane claims the data on Grosjean’s car shows he did not brake-test Verstappen and cause their crash in Monaco last Sunday.

  6. Todt: Impossible to ban alcohol sponsorship in F1

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    FIA president responds to calls for a stricter policy on alcohol sponsorship in F1.

  7. Andreas Bakkerud to sub for Piquet Jr. with SH Rallycross at X Games

    May 28, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Photo: SH Rallycross Photo: SH Rallycross

    Andreas Bakkerud will fill in for Piquet while he’s on Formula E duty in Russia.

  8. Wolff answers fans questions following Monaco pit error

    May 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12:  Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff speaks with members of the media next to St Kilda beach during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 12, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff took part in a Twitter Q&A earlier this week.

  9. Foust reflects on Red Bull GRC’s evolution, growth, what wins mean now

    May 28, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Photo: Tony DiZinno Photo: Tony DiZinno

    Two-time series champion looks ahead to a big year in Red Bull GRC with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross.

  10. Gossage to Walker: “We need a more competitive race this year than last year”

    May 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    The Bombardier Learjet 500k Getty Images

    Gossage and Walker are in contact about how to best move forward with super speedway aero kits ahead of June 6 IndyCar race.

  11. Final tally of Pippa Mann’s 2015 #GetInvolved campaign revealed

    May 28, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    No. 63 driver tops $61,000 raised for Susan G. Komen this month.

  12. IndyCar drivers break down Belle Isle Park street course

    May 27, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Chevrolet Indy Dual In Detroit - Dual II Getty Images

    The last seven races held in Detroit have been won by a different driver.

  13. INDYCAR announces post-Indy 500 penalties; Coyne, Herta pit penalties among them

    May 27, 2015, 4:17 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Penalties doled out after the Indy 500, most notably to the No. 19 and 98 teams for pit incidents.

  14. Tristan Vautier, Rodolfo Gonzalez to race for Dale Coyne Racing in Detroit Duals

    May 27, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Tristan Vautier Tristan Vautier

    Gonzalez returns to No. 18 car after running it in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

  15. Graham Rahal feels ‘really good’ about Detroit Dual

    May 27, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

    Graham Rahal Graham Rahal

    After three straight top-five finishes, Graham Rahal returns to the site of his only 2014 podium.

  16. Volkswagen Andretti pair of Foust, Speed seek better fortunes, consistency

    May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Photo: Red Bull Content Pool Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

    Ahead of the Red Bull GRC season, Tanner Foust and Scott Speed look for better luck in the pair of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetles.

  17. Charlie Kimball looks to capitalize on Indianapolis performance in Detroit Dual

    May 27, 2015, 12:28 PM EDT

    Charlie Kimball Charlie Kimball

    Charlie Kimball says his team has hit its stride after two straight top-five finishes.

  18. Wilson adds Andretti FE to his diverse racing portfolio, racing at Moscow

    May 27, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT

    Justin Wilson AP

    Wilson and Andretti continue relationship at FE race in Moscow.

  19. Racing for Cancer, DeBoer partner ahead of Le Mans Festival

    May 27, 2015, 9:23 AM EDT

    deboer_3D_rendering_lemans

    Racing for Cancer to make trip to this year’s Le Mans, with Derek DeBoer in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4.