Formula 1's new teams have been assured by Cosworth that they will have a very competitive engine next year, despite the power units being reconfigured to run at 18,000rpm.
Cosworth had initially been granted permission by the FIA to run at 20,000rpm in 2010, in a move to even up the competitiveness of the customer units against the more-developed current manufacturers. However, amid the backdrop of the regulations being tweaked to avert the threat of a breakaway, many of the concessions handed to the small teams as part of the original budget cap have been dropped. And with Cosworth wanting to avoid a confrontation with current manufacturers ahead of its re-entry into F1, it offered to accept a lower 18,000rpm limit rather than what was first proposed.
Although that prompted speculation that it would cost new teams Manor Grand Prix, Campos Meta1 and Team US F1 in terms of performance, the company is adamant that there could in fact be benefits from the move. Tim Routsis, Cosworth's CEO, told AUTOSPORT, "We suggested the 18,000rpm limit to remove potential tension, and a point of possible conflict in agreeing terms.
"We were confident that the engine in the return form would be utterly competitive providing we started early enough. I think the teams will not be any less competitive as a result of having a retuned engine. If anything, I think there are benefits to be had from reduced rejection of heat to oil, so radiators can get smaller, the drag goes down. Also, as an engine spins faster, it consumes more fuel to overcome frictions, so by lowering the revs were are also going to improve the fuel efficiency."
Cosworth has conducted a detailed simulation of the engine performance of the new CA2010 power unit, based on 18,000 rpm figures, and the results suggest that it will be as competitive as most of the current manufacturers units in F1. Cosworth has also been assured that it will not be further compromised by limiting itself to just five engines per car per season, as had been pushed for by some FOTA teams. The decision comes after Cosworth informed the manufacturers and the FIA that it would not be able to retune its engine as well as dramatically extend its engine life in the time left available before the start of next season.
"Our position is that we are completely happy with this concept of reducing the revs to 18,000rpm but we only have a finite amount of time before we have to deliver engines," explained Routsis. "There is not enough time for us to do a retune and extend the life of the engines. So we need to stay with the agreed number of eight engines."
Cosworth has already begun recruiting extra track support and engine build staff for its F1 program, having kept on much of the engineering brains that helped make its 2006 engine such a success.