Formula 1 as we know it today could not possibly exist without the Ford Cosworth DFV. How would the likes of McLaren and Williams fared without an affordable, reliable engine unit on which to build the foundations of their success?
The DFV appeared in 1967 and variations of it were still being used two decades later in F1. But it’s influence spread throughout motor racing, as this excellent book shows.
When Williams arranged a deal to use Toyota engines this year it signalled the end for one of F1′s longest serving manufacturers. Cosworth, supplier of race winning engines for 39 years, were left out in the cold.
It was a move rich in irony, for only at the beginning of last year did the new 2.4-litre V8 engines force Cosworth into designing a new eight-cylinder engine – which harked back to its glorious days of the DFV.
The engine was designed by Keith Duckworth on a budget of around Â£100,000. Colin Chapman plugged the engine into his Lotus 49 chassis, and Jim Clark gave the car a maiden victory at Zandvoort.
It wrote reams of history. It dominated F1 in the 1970s – powering every world champion barring Niki Lauda’s two Ferrari victories. One hundred and fifty-five Grands Prix were won by DFV-engined cars.
So the engine was pretty special – but is the book?
Rich in detail and handsomely illustrated, it has plenty to offer the casual fan and the die-hard. The cover illustration gives a worrying impression that the content is only for the technically-minded but that is not the case.
The approach is quite broad – necessarily so because the DFV won Le Mans and spawned derivatives that enjoyed comparable amounts of success in Indy Cars to Formula 1. It was also utterly vital to the creation of Formula 3000.
It’s a little short on first-hand accounts but those that are there are fleshed out in detail.
It’s a shame the publishers couldn’t have acquired some more interesting pictures of many of the F1 cars involved – quite a few of which are stock shots from Ford’s media website.
But it pulls off the difficult feat of covering a potentially dry subject in a comprehensive manner while never failing to entertain. For that it deserves top marks.