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Ford’s F1 comeback

6 months ago

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Writer:

Hamir Thapar | Young writer

Date:

21 August 2023

Many will have missed the true significance of Ford’s announcement that it was returning to Formula 1, working with Red Bull Powertrains on a new power unit for the 2026 season. Most saw it as the latest attempt by the Milton Keynes squad to tighten its stranglehold on the F1 World Championship, as opposed to the triumphant homecoming of the sport’s third most successful engine manufacturer.

The numbers don’t lie. With 174 Grand Prix wins, 13 drivers’ titles and 10 constructors’ championships to its name, the Blue Oval trails only F1 grandees Ferrari and Mercedes as an engine supplier – largely thanks to just one engine. The story begins with Lotus founder Colin Chapman, plus the two engineering geniuses behind Cosworth, Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth.

Born in Lancashire and educated at Imperial College London, Duckworth joined Lotus in 1955 and soon became friends with Costin. Unfortunately for Duckworth, his tenure at Hethel lasted a mere eight months before a falling out with Chapman (one that allegedly culminated in a two-hour shouting match) prompted him to depart, join forces with Costin and establish Cosworth.

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