ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Jacques Villeneuve’s former manager and team boss Craig Pollock announced plans on Wednesday to return to Formula One at the helm of a new engine manufacturer from 2013.
Engine rules are due to change dramatically that year, with the governing FIA keen for the sport to ditch the existing V8s and switch to ‘greener’ 1.6 litre four cylinder turbocharged units that will use hybrid technologies.
The former BAR team principal told Reuters his PURE Corporation expected to meet F1 teams at this month’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and hoped some would be interested in what he was offering.
“The project has started up since the beginning of the year and we are in a design and development stage at the moment but we now have a good package that we can go forward and start talking to teams,” Pollock said in a telephone interview.
The 55-year-old Scot would not say how much money was being invested in the project, or give other financial details, but Canadian Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion with Renault-powered Williams, is not involved.
French-based engine maker Mecachrome and TEOS powertrain engineering are partners while former Renault Sport managing director Christian Contzen is a consultant.
Contzen and Pollock first met when BAR used Supertec engines, essentially Renault units by another name, in 1999.
Frenchman Jean-Pierre Boudy, an expert in four-cylinder turbocharged engines after working with Renault in the 1970s and 1980s, will be a senior design engineer for TEOS while Robin Southwell, CEO of aerospace company EADS UK, is the non-executive chairman.
Formula One now has four engine makers — Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and privately-owned Cosworth — who each supply three teams.
“We welcome PURE to Formula One,” International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt said in a PURE statement.
“The rule changes for 2013 have been developed to provide lower cost, greener and more fuel efficient technologies for Formula One. We wish PURE every success in developing powertrains compliant with the new FIA regulations.”
Pollock said PURE needed a couple of teams to sign up as clients to be “truly viable” and would be disappointed if they only got one although the business had other areas of interest.
“Formula One to us is one project but we have other projects that we are working on in marine engines, aviation, helicopter engines,” he added.
“We are definitely looking to use Formula One as a test bed to be able to take cleaner technology back into the mainstream.”
Pollock said the aim was to get the first engine on the testing bench before the end of this year.
“Our design team have actually been working on this since the announcement on December 10,” he said. “We are very much down the road, probably the same if not further ahead than the key manufacturers.
“We’ve had one thing to concentrate on, whereas they’ve had quite a lot to concentrate on over and above that.”
Pollock said the FIA, who are strongly backing the changes in the face of opposition from Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari, had been aware of the project only recently but were “hugely supportive”.
Editing by Tony Jimenez