When the chequered flag came out at the end of the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, it brought down the curtain, at least temporarily, on a 39 year Formula One odyssey that took Cosworth from a dream to becoming the second most successful manufacturer in the Formula's history. Only Ferrari has won more races and no one has supplied more teams.
It was a particular irony that Cosworth's final season in F1 saw it produce its best engine since the heady days of the DFV, Keith Duckworth's brilliant piece of innovative engineering which was the cornerstone on which the business was developed. The 2006 CA engine was acknowledged throughout the Formula One paddock as the benchmark against which all the new V8's had to be measured. With 20,000 rpm available for qualifying from the first race of the season and 20,000 rpm available for the whole race by the end of the season Cosworth was rightly proud of the CA but race results were disappointing.
Since it was formed in 1958 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, Cosworth has become the most successful engine manufacturer in history, with a string of driver and manufacturer titles to its credit in a wide range of formulae with impressive performances in IRL, Champ Car, WRC, sportscars and MotoGP.
Cosworth began life in a small workshop in London in 1958. However, things quickly grew and a move to larger premises was soon required. The company moved to north London, where it began working on the development of the Ford 105E engine. Cosworth actually achieved its first victory when Jim Clark took a win in the Formula Junior category in his Lotus 18 at Goodwood in 1960.
By the mid 1960s, the company had moved to Northampton where bigger prospects were around the corner. In 1966, Duckworth signed a contract with Ford to develop a new three-liter Formula One engine, and the legendary DFV was born. It got its first taste of victory in 1967, when Jim Clark again provided the maiden victory at the Dutch Grand Prix. The DFV, in subsequent development guises, went on to dominate the sport for 15 years and clinched 155 race wins during that time.
A host of famous names benefited from Costin and Duckworth's approach. Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and Nelson Piquet all took championships using Cosworth engines during the 1970s.
During the 1970s Cosworth engines crossed the Atlantic to take the Indy/CART world by storm. There, the DFX version of the F1 powerplant began to take an incredible 151 race wins in a 14-year reign, culminating in ten driver's championships and ten Indianapolis 500 victories.
As the 1980s became the 90s, Cosworth continued to provide winning power, with the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 taking the 1987 Touring Car world title and the Cosworth-powered Ford Mondeo winning the World titles for Paul Radisich in 1993 and 1994.
In Formula One, the DFV was replaced by the HB which won 11 races between 1989 and 1993, and this was in turn superseded by in 1994 by the Zetec V8 F1 engine which powered Michael Schumacer's first world drivers's title in its first year.
The XB engine burst onto the Indy car scene in 1992 to re launch Cosworth as a major player and that was the foundation for a family of engines which are still in use today. The XB was a success both on and off the track and sales of this unit led directly to Cosworth being awarded the Queens Award for Export Achievement.
Nigel Mansell's 1993 CART championship and Jacques Villeneuve's 1995 Indy 500 win were both provided by Cosworth power. In rallying, the Ford Escort Cosworth notched up numerous wins during the 1990s and the Duratec-R engine in the Focus WRC gave Ford more success.
A partnership was formed with Opel in the mid 1990's which culminated in winning the DTM International Touring Car Championship in 2006. These were heady times for Cosworth who supplied the whole of the newly formed IRL series with the XB.
Cosworth was bought by Ford in 1998 and the company became works engine suppliers to Stewart Grand Prix and its successor Jaguar Racing. Johnny Herbert secured Stewart Grand Prix's first and only GP win in 1999 and the final win for Ford (and Cosworth's 176th) in F1 came in 2003 when Fisichella won the Brazilian Grand Prix.
In 2000 Cosworth won the inaugural CART manufacturers championship and two years later secured a groundbreaking relationship with the organization to become the exclusive engine supplier to the series. Success also continued in the wider business arena and in 2003 Cosworth was voted the MIA business of the year.
In 2004, Cosworth was purchased by Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, co owners of the Champ Car World Series (successor to CART) and success continued with a number of wins for Marco Martin in the World rally Championship.
The story continues with new road engine contracts from both Aston Martin and Caterham inked in 2005 and an exclusive supply arrangement with Formula Atlantic secured for 2006 the story continues through to the present day and the most powerful V8 engine in the history of Formula One.
Cosworth's rich and varied history is set to continue, with activities as diverse as Racing, Aerospace, and Confidential Consultancy work as the company approaches its 50th Anniversary.