Cosworth is for sale. Having lost its best F1 customers Williams and Caterham, in recent months it has been discussed as an open secret in the grand prix paddocks that the independent British engine supplier will not be on the grid in 2014 with a new turbo V6 power unit.
Cosworth, however – still supplying V8s to backmarkers Marussia and HRT – insists it has a plan to stay in F1 beyond the current rules, even though rumours persist that it is not up to speed with the kind of progress made by its 2014 rivals Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. British newspaper The Times now reports that Cosworth, currently owned by well-known US motor racing names Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, has instructed UBS to find a new buyer.
And the Telegraph reports that Rolls Royce could be at the front of the queue to buy Cosworth, thanks to the engine maker’s new links in the aerospace industry.
Another potential buyer is GKN, a British aerospace company.
Cosworth’s chief executive Tim Routsis said: “We have been paused for the last 18 months and the board has decided that we can not wait any longer otherwise we risk losing momentum.”
Luis Perez-Sala has indicated HRT wants to keep its Cosworth engines for the 2013 season.
It emerged recently that, with the independent British engine supplier losing key clients Williams and Caterham recently, Cosworth might not develop a V6 engine for the all-new 2014 regulations. Citing paddock speculation, the media reports even suggested the viability of Cosworth staying in F1 for the final V8 season next year is in doubt. The engine maker’s last remaining F1 customers are backmarkers HRT and Marussia.
HRT team boss Perez-Sala suggested the Spanish team wanted to maintain stability for 2013. Asked by El Confidencial if the team will have a new engine supplier next year, he answered: “For next year, although it is not finalised, the idea is to keep what we have.
“As a team we have made a big change this year and what we need is to consolidate and improve on what we have. So we cannot be changing too much when in 2014 there is such an important transformation. We expect that the coming (2013) campaign will be a continuation,” added Sala.
He also suggested that Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa is a vital player in the HRT project going forwards.
When asked if he can imagine HRT without the experienced former McLaren test driver on board, Perez-Sala answered: “So far, no … I can not imagine it!”
Cosworth could be set to exit Formula One. Currently, with F1’s existing V8 formula facing its final season in 2013, there are four engine suppliers on the grid — Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Cosworth, the British independent.
But the rules are changing radically, as from 2014 cars and drivers must be powered by turbo V6s complemented by sophisticated KERS systems.
Late in 2011, there were rumblings Cosworth – left with just two customers this year in the form of struggling Marussia and HRT – might not be able to commit to expensive V6 research and development. Indeed, even the viability of Cosworth staying around for the final V8 season has been the subject of recent paddock speculation.
“Cosworth, for sure, are finished,” Renault’s Jean-Francois Caubet is quoted now by German-language website motorsport-total.com.
And Craig Pollock, whose new PURE foray is developing a V6 for 2014, agreed: “Cosworth cannot be there in 2014.
“They just can’t make it in time now, no matter what anybody says,” he told the Dutch website gpupdate.net. “It’s an absolute impossibility.”
Recently, Cosworth lost its best customers – Williams and Caterham – to Renault, as the French supplier pushes harder for the FIA to further relax the rules about how many partners each carmaker can supply.
“I am pushing for an open market because we are in formula one and regulations cannot solve all the problems,” Caubet was quoted as saying last year.