Q&A with Cosworths Mark Gallagher 28 Sep 2010
Cosworths first Singapore Grand Prix yielded a double points finish for the engine supplier, courtesy of Williams Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg. The three new teams - Virgin, Lotus and HRT - had mixed fortunes, but there was still cause for optimism. General manager of Cosworths F1 business unit, Mark Gallagher, reflects on the Singapore weekend and his hopes for 2010s remaining races
Q: Cosworth engines had never raced around the Marina Bay circuit before, were you satisfied with the performance of the CA2010?
Mark Gallagher: It was a great experience for Cosworth to race around the streets of Singapore at what is a very well organised and entertaining venue. The circuit may not demand the top end power of Monza, but it is still a tough challenge for engine units and we showed well. The pace and performance of the Williams team was particularly pleasing; both drivers were quick throughout practice, qualifying and in the race itself. Nico was unlucky not to make it through to Q3 but had a strong race and scored a championship point in spite of a 20s post-race penalty. Rubens was in strong form to take sixth in qualifying and his third top six finish of the season.
Q: How did the new teams fare?
MG: There were mixed fortunes for the new teams. Both Lotus Racing and Virgin Racing showed good pace over the weekend but after an interrupted race it was Lucas di Grassi who took the honours. Heikki Kovalainen had a spectacular end to a competitive race after damage sustained to the fuel tank as a result of his coming together with Buemi in the closing stages resulted in a fire and retirement. Naturally there has been damage to the engine as a result of the intensity of the fire, and we are evaluating the implications. There were some strong individual performances masked by the end results which will give all three new teams cause for optimism. Timo Glock had a good weekend and was unlucky with safety-car timings, while Christian Klien made a very positive impression at HRT.
Q: Singapore is now one of the biggest races of the season. Did Cosworth have any senior management in attendance?
MG: Yes, Singapore has in a short space of time become one of the key events of the season from a business perspective. As such, Cosworths CEO Tim Routsis and Group Sales Director Jog Lall attended the Singapore Grand Prix and used the Formula One race weekend as part of the companys continued drive for diversified global business. Cosworths ongoing diversification has seen important expansion in the Middle East and Asian markets in recent years, including the opening of the companys new office in India last year, so Singapore is a prime venue to nurture business opportunities. Also present was Cosworth shareholder Kevin Kalkhoven and his KV Racing partner and former IndyCar champion Jimmy Vasser.
Q: What are Cosworths aims for the final four flyaway races of the season?
MG: We have made good progress with each of our teams during this season. We are looking at completely different prospects to those teams that lined up in Bahrain just over six months ago. With Williams, we know we are chasing strong points-scoring results in these final four races and a move up the constructors championship, and the three new teams have made in-roads to the established teams. These final four overseas races will give us further opportunity to show what progress has been made. Our overall aim for the balance of the season, starting with Suzuka next week, is to continue with our performance optimisation while protecting reliability. While we would like to see more top six finishes with Williams, the podium is where we want to be.
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