Sunday, May 2, 2010

How many lumps, Sir?

Perhaps it’s just me... As we continue on aimlessly with our “Single Spec” engine Formula’s and thus its hard to fathom that it was a Decade and a half ago that Formula One saw the last brilliant shrieking of the venerable V-12 lump, not to mention its FINAL victory in the rarefied Atmosphere of Formula Uno... As Y’all most likely can guess who was running it? Right, it was none other then Le Scuderia... And I DON’T mean BMS Scuderia Italia either!

According to my (somewhat) quick Reference check, the 1995 F1 Season saw a total of thirteen Constructors using nine engine variants from eight different Engine Manufacturers: Ferrari V-12; (2) Ford HB V-8; (8) Ford V-10; (2) Hart V-8; (2) Mercedes Benz V-10; (2) Mugen V-10; (2 Peugeot V-10; (2) Renault V-10; (4) Yamaha V-10. (2)

As the last Constructor to campaign the once mighty 12-cylinder design was Scuderia Ferrari with the 75 degree Model 44/1 V-12 bolted to the F412T2’s flanks, driven by Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi, with the Star crossed Frenchman (Alesi) scoring his lone GP victory in Canada. This was a popular win for many reasons; most notably being that it featured the revered No. 27 made famous by Canada’s native son Gilles Villeneuve, along with coming none other then at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Il Notre Dam.

Yet, not surprisingly the first four places in the Drivers World Championship were all propelled by the mighty “Reggie” V-10 Powerplant as this engine configuration was becoming the preferred choice. Thus the French engine saw Benetton’s Michael Schumacher and Johnny Herbert (1st& 4th) bookending Williams Damon Hill and David Coulthard. (P2-3) While Steve Matchett ‘N Co. finally secured the coveted Constructors Title for the Upstart Benetton concern.

Then came the Ferrari’s in fifth & sixth; Alesi ahead of Berger with McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen seventh, Ligier’s Olivier Panis in P8, Sauber’s “Heinz 57” (Heinz-Harald Frentzen) in ninth and McLaren’s number two Driver Mark Blundell rounding out the Top 10.

And it’s entertaining how 15yrs ago seems to be a Watershed moment in the continuously changing world of F1, as from 1996 and a further 10yrs on, the 3.0 liter V-10 lumps would rule the roost before the FIA mandated the 2.4 liter V-8 Formulae, with its Horsepower reduction to hopefully diminish the ever increasing lap times with a reputed 200bhp reduction! Meanwhile Cosworth became the firs Engine Manufacturer to produce a V-8 lump that successfully revved OVER the once unobtainable 20,000RPM threshold in December, 2005 and ironically this engine has now returned as the Cosworth CA 2010 V-8 unit powering Hispania, Lotus, Williams and Virgin...