Interview by Sergio Álvarez; photos by Diego Merino & Cyril Nikitenko.
Q: What about AI in F1 in the future?
A: I think today, even in the Exhibition now, we’re telling the story of why things happened and you can look at the development of the Ford Cosworth DFV engine, there’s an interview there with Mike Costin, one of the original founders of Cosworth Engineering.
But Cosworth became a place from which a lot of employees then formed Ilmor and Ilmor became Mercedes Powertrain. So when you look at the Cosworth DFV engine in the back of the Lotus 49, you can actually see Lewis Hamilton’s success in the Formula One World Championship with the Mercedes Powertrain engine because it’s all come from Cosworth.
And it’s not only engines, it’s in everything: whether it’s aerodynamics, whether it’s carbon chassis, broadcasting. We are the only group, I think, ever to intereview Eddie Baker who started “Bakersville” which was the F1 TV broadcast center that we know today. It was known as “Bakersville” when it started. We’ve interviewed Baker and he talks about that – and he was a Brabham gearbox guy. It’s interesting to see how all that started.
The same with the carbon chassis, you know. When you think about Ron Dennis and his place in Formula 1, some people might think of the hundred-million dollar fine, some people might think of Marlboro, the reality about Ron Dennis is that he gave us carbon chassis, he gave John Barnard the ability to build the carbon chassis Formula 1 car which has saved hundreds of lives since 1981, and on top of that he gave us Lewis Hamilton. So it’s two pretty big things that Ron Dennis has given us.
That is there and you can see that 1981 monocoque: the engine was ripped out of the back when John Watson hit the guardrail at the ’81 Italian Grand Prix. Everybody thought the carbon chassis would collapse and it saved his life. And that changed Formula 1. That’s also related to the Grosjean (crashed 2020 HAAS F1) car that we have here which obviously saved Romain’s life as well.