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Bowing out in Brazil - farewell to Webber, V8s and Cosworth 21 Nov 2013

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race Day, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 9 June 2013 Race winner Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 11 July 2010 Race winner Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 11 July 2010 Ferrari 150 Italia V8 engine.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 19 May 2011 Mercedes FO108Y V8 F1 Engine. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 30 July 2011 Renault V8 engine.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 10 September 2011 Renault V8 engine.
Williams F1 Team Media & Partner Day, Silverstone, England, Wednesday, 17 October 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010 Cosworth truck.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day Two, Silverstone, England, 13 July 2012 A Cosworth engine at the Cosworth Factory in Northampton.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Preparations, Silverstone, England, Thursday, 8 July 2010

This weekend’s Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2013 doesn’t just signal the end of the season, it signals the end of several eras. The Interlagos race is the last in Mark Webber’s 12-season Formula One career. It’s also the last race for F1 racing’s current breed of 2.4-litre V8 engines, as well as the last race for the time being for renowned engine manufacturer Cosworth. To each of them a fond farewell…

Mark Webber
On Sunday in Sao Paulo Mark Webber will start the 215th and final Grand Prix of his 12-season Formula One career. He heads into the race having amassed nine victories, 13 pole positions, 18 fastest laps and 41 trips to the podium.

The popular 37-year-old Australian, who hails from Queanbeyan in New South Wales, enjoyed a fairy-tale start to life in Formula One racing when he finished fifth on his debut for Minardi on home soil in 2002. His performances that season earned him a drive with Jaguar, before a much-anticipated, but ultimately disappointing stint with Williams.

For 2007, Webber moved to the newly-formed Red Bull Racing squad, formed from the ashes of his old Jaguar team. Though it was deemed by many to be a backward step, Webber would have the last laugh as the team steadily grew into the championship-winning force that it is today.

Webber’s Red Bull career has been marked by several brilliant race victories. His debut win in Germany in 2009 featured a fabulous charge back to the head of the race after being delayed by a drive-through penalty, whilst double wins at circuits as different as Monaco and Silverstone proved his all-around versatility as a driver.

The closest Webber came to winning the world title was in 2010 when he entered the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi as one of four drivers capable of claiming the crown. Ultimately it was Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel who prevailed and Webber has lived largely in the illustrious German’s shadows ever since.

But whilst he may have missed out on F1’s ultimate prize, the respect that Webber commands from his fellow racers is second to none. Ultra-fast and fair on the racetrack, popular and forthright off it, Webber will be sorely missed.

2.4-litre, normally-aspirated V8 engines
The current generation of 2.4-litre, normally-aspirated V8 engines roared onto the scene in 2006, replacing the 3-litre V10 engines that had been the norm since 1995.

The outright power of the V8 engines may not have matched the incredible horsepower figures generated during the 1980s turbo era, but the eight cylinder units have been just as impressive in their own right, reaching tremendous heights in terms of fuel efficiency, driveability, and reliability, as well as lending themselves perfectly to such concepts as exhaust blown diffusers.

Of course, part of the reason for the gains in these areas was down to significant changes in the regulations - in 2007 engine development was frozen to keep costs down and from 2009 onwards each driver has been limited to just eight powerplants per season. Then there was the introduction of KERS in 2009.

In 2007 and 2008, the V8s were limited to 19,000rpm, and from 2009 to 18,000rpm. Despite this the eight cylinder engines retained the shrill noise and incredible volume that is unparalleled outside of Formula One racing. 2014’s 1.6-litre turbo engines will be restricted to 15,000rpm and there’s no doubt that they’ll produce a very different sound, though manufacturers are confident that they will retain the incomparable drama associated with F1 engines.

Seven manufacturers made engines during the V8 era - Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda, Cosworth, Toyota and BMW - but three came to dominate it. The Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes triumvirate have won every race since 2006 bar two - the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix (won by Jenson Button for Honda) and the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix (won by Robert Kubica for BMW-Sauber). Which of the big three will sign off on the V8 era on top? We’ll find out on Sunday in Sao Paulo…

As a Formula One engine manufacturer, Cosworth have an incredible legacy. The legendary Ford-Cosworth DFV powerplant was, in its various guises, a race winner every year from its debut in 1967 with Lotus until 1983. Part of the reason for Cosworth achieving such an enormous number of wins during this period - 155 in total - was the DFV’s availability ‘off the peg’ to anyone who wanted one.

The company’s current stint in Formula One racing began in 2010 when, having spent three years out of the sport, they returned to the paddock, supplying engines to Williams. They also provided a sensibly -priced, fixed-cost engine programme to the three new teams on the grid that year: HRT, Lotus F1 Racing (now Caterham) and Virgin (now Marussia).

Success has been hard to come by in the past few years, though Cosworth’s engines remain eminently powerful and reliable. However, the company did add another pole position to its tally in Brazil in 2010 when Nico Hulkenberg masterfully glided his Williams around Interlagos in challenging wet/dry conditions.

Now, with their sole customers Marussia moving to Ferrari power for 2014, it’s likely the famous marque will sadly end its latest F1 chapter without a 2013 points finish. However, if Marussia can hold onto tenth place in the constructors’ championship over rivals Caterham, it will be thanks in no small part to Cosworth.

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