Q&A with Cosworths Mark Gallagher 16 Jun 2010
If ever there was a demanding proving ground for a Formula One engine, its Montreals Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. A devastating mix of long straights and low-speed chicanes, its an excellent way to test an engines mettle before it tackles the arduous power-hungry tracks of Spa-Francorhamps and Monza. After a successful Canadian Grand Prix - at which their CA2010 performed admirably - Mark Gallagher, general manager of Cosworths F1 Business Unit, is feeling pleased with progress
Q: How do you view the performance of the Cosworth CA2010 in Canada?
Mark Gallagher: The Canadian Grand Prix is an important race in terms of engine performance due to the very long straight leading down to the final chicane and the pit straight which follows; both give overtaking opportunities. There are also aerodynamic considerations that the teams have to get right due to the fact that the quick sections are followed by some very slow corners such as the infamous hairpin and Turn Two. Since the start of the season, we have been busy working on all the areas of the engine untouched by the FIAs regulations on engine homologation - mapping, fuels and lubricants, for example - in order to optimise the performance of the CA2010. We saw some positive results from this ongoing work in Canada and we continued to enjoy excellent reliability, something that is fast becoming a unique selling point for our engine. I am really looking forward to the true power circuits of Spa-Francorchamps and Monza which are coming up in the second half of the season where we will be really able to stretch the CA2010s legs.
Q: There has been a lot of focus on Lotus Racings recent improvements, what are your views on that?
MG: Lotus Racing has done an excellent job which is a credit to Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and their personnel. They are pushing hard to be in a position to threaten one or two of the established midfield teams before the end of the season. The performance of the Lotus-Cosworth T127 in Canada was particularly impressive with Heikki (Kovalainen) qualifying just three-tenths slower than Kamui Kobayashis Sauber and then finishing ahead of Vitaly Petrovs Renault in the race. The fact that they can reach that level of performance at a track with slow corners and fast sections shows the all round capability of their package. At Cosworth, we are anxious to help all three of the new teams, including Virgin Racing and HRT, to take their fight to the midfield and ultimately beyond.
Q: What did you make of Williams performance in Canada?
MG: It is clear that Williams made good progress in Canada but the race results did not give them the reward they deserved after a series of misfortune in the race itself. The team almost made it through to the final part of qualifying and it was disappointing that both drivers missed out by just a tenth-of-a-second. There was still the expectation for points from the sixth row of the grid but a combination of factors with Rubens becoming embroiled in a first lap tangle and Nico having a drive through penalty conspired against them. The fact that Nicos quickest race lap was just half-a-second from Sebastian Vettels Red Bull shows what might have been. We are continuing to work with the team to optimise the performance of the Williams-Cosworth package and we are absolutely determined to help them achieve their goals.
Q: Finally, how important was the return of the Canadian Grand Prix to Cosworth?
MG: This has been an extremely important and positive development for Cosworth. There are three Cosworth facilities in the USA covering a range of diversified group activities encompassing motor sport, aerospace and defence, so it is vital that we can showcase our racing capabilities to a North American audience. Canada has always hosted a vibrant and exciting grand prix and last weekends race served as a timely reminder of the great enthusiasm and turnout from the fans. Congratulations to the race organisers and the people of Montreal for putting on such a wonderful event.