Exclusive interview with PURE's Craig Pollock

Exclusive interview with PURE's Craig Pollock

5 May 2011 – It has been officially announced on Thursday that the newly-formed PURE Corporation is bidding for a place as a customer engine supplier on the 2013 Formula 1 grid, when a brand-new set of technical regulations are introduced. GPUpdate.net speaks exclusively with PURE’s CEO, former BAR Team Principal Craig Pollock.

Personally, how does it feel to be back in the F1 environment after a few years off?

Pollock also served as manager to 1997 Champion Jacques Villeneuve
You know, having been there before, having had my fingers burned before, having had positive and negative experiences, I am very wary.

But obviously the fact that I am doing this also shows that I actually do still love Formula 1 and want to make this work. But I’m going to talk it very easy and walk before I run.

When was the PURE idea first put forward?
The PURE concept of what we’re doing has been here for over three years. Initially, what we were trying to do was take over the Renault plant at Viry Châtillon and work directly with the directors of Renault to do that. Then after that I actually worked with Gerard Lopez of Genii Capital, because he had an option, and nothing worked out.

So the PURE concept came from the fact that there was no response from Renault’s side and I had to do it by myself. The name was established at the beginning of this year because we had to struggle to find the right name. If you think about it, PURE is French for Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d’Energie – Universal Propulsion and Energy Recuperation – and it’s clean, so that’s where it came from.

Was it your decision to have a French name?
Well, to me it’s a French name but it’s also English. So ‘pure’ in English, ‘clean’, and PURE in French, when we can use the whole Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d’Energie. So, yes, it was 100 percent my idea. The concept itself over the last three years was also 100 percent my idea, but I’ve been really fantastically backed up by Christian Contzen who was, let’s just say, my mentor through the whole process.

How much input have the FIA and Jean Todt had through the project so far?

Well, the FIA have been aware that something’s happening and Jean Todt has been correct to be absolutely neutral - he cannot influence companies coming in. He actually can’t stop anybody coming into the sport; if anybody wants to come in and produce engines, that can do that. It’s not Bernie (Ecclestone) who’s going to stop you, it’s not Jean Todt who’s going to stop you and it’s far better to have their benediction.

It’s only very, very recently that I sat down with Jean Todt and totally outlined the project of PURE. He was hugely supportive.

Has manufacturing begun and is the engine going to be tested any time soon?
Well, there’s nobody who is manufacturing a 2013 engine presently; what they’re doing is designing and developing the totality of the engine. I would say that we would be with an engine on a bench as fast as anybody else, if not a little bit faster, because we don’t have to develop a V8 engine at the moment.

Those other guys, with their design departments, are also having to compete in the championship this year and next year, so we have probably more engineers working on the 2013 engine than anybody else. So we’re looking very good. We started immediately upon the announcement of the new engine rule changes (December 2010) and we’re very much in-line for time, so we have confidence.

This will be a turbocharged, 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder powerplant. On a slightly more trivial note, how do you think the engine will sound in comparison with a V8 or V10?
The engine will definitely sound different. Every manufacturer, whether you’re Ferrari or Lamborghini or Porsche, has a department to make sure that their engines sound the same and that is to do with the sequence of explosions inside the cylinder, and that’s done by electronics. So the engine will sound slightly different.

I go back to my Indy days, when I was with (managing) Jacques Villeneuve, and there was Indy Lights and IndyCars; the engines were not far off being the same but the Indy Lights had a silencer on them. When the Indy Lights went out, all the fans left the stands because there was no noise! You couldn’t hear it. This is where Formula 1 has to be careful, Bernie’s not wrong – there has to be the right sound.

The turbo will have an effect on the racing, too. I think that’s a very important area and I think a lot of manufacturers will just use off-the-shelf, garage turbos. We’re trying at the moment to design and develop our own specific turbo for our engines.

We’re still very much in the early stages but, in terms of carbon emissions and the ‘green’ element, how successful will this engine be?

That we’ll know once the engine is on the bench and in the car but, in reality, we’re working very, very closely with one of our partners, which is IFP Energies nouvelles – French Industry to Petroleum of New Energies – and they are number one in the world in combustion technology.

All of the main manufacturers - whether it’s VW Porsche, even Ferrari - will use IFP for combustion technologies and they’ll also be consulting them on hybrid systems, because they’ve been working on hybrid systems for 15 years.

So we’re very, very hopeful and the whole idea is for us to produce the cleanest engine possible and use Formula 1 as a technical test bed for a product that we can then put back into the normal society and other car manufacturers.

Arguably, Formula 1 has not been used as the greatest technological platform over the last few years…
I think the best analogy, or example, would be: when I had my first little car, which was a Mini, it had drum brakes. Now, every car in the world has disc brakes and that came directly out of Formula 1 – and that’s the way it should be going back. We should be using Formula 1 to make sure that cars which go driving around the world are cleaner and I think effort should be put into that; I don’t think Jean Todt is 100 percent wrong about that.

Do you expect to engage in discussions with teams already this year, with a view to them using your engines in 2013?

There is no question that the reason we’ve announced PURE this weekend is because we feel that we now have a good enough argument and enough information to be able to go towards the teams and present what we are and what we intend to do.

Our discussions with the teams will start very shortly. Whether we get anything signed, let’s wait and see. Formula 1 is a tough business and we’re competing with very, very serious competitors in Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Cosworth. No promises are going to be made but we’re definitely going to try and get in there.


Craig Pollock was talking to GPUpdate.net’s Gregory Haines
Twitter:
@GregoryHainesF1


See also:
- Craig Pollock establishes PURE engine company
Insight: Who are the PURE Corporation?
- Todt welcomes PURE to Formula 1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 4 July 2015

  2. 11:06

    British Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  3. Hamilton quickest in final practice 11:04

    Hamilton quickest in final practice

    Lewis Hamilton set the pace for this first time this weekend during final practice for the British Grand Prix, half a second up…

    F1
  4. 09:48

    Follow final practice for the British GP!

    F1
  5. FIA issues Copse track limits warning 09:34

    FIA issues Copse track limits warning

    Formula 1 drivers have been warned about exceeding the track limits ahead of Saturday's qualifying session for the British Grand…

    F1
  6. Kirchhöfer flies to pole at Silverstone 09:22

    Kirchhöfer flies to pole at Silverstone

    Marvin Kirchhöfer stormed to pole position for Saturday's first GP3 race of the weekend at Silverstone after setting two laps…

    GP3
  7. Lotus sets sights on battle for fourth 08:02

    Lotus sets sights on battle for fourth

    Lotus CEO Matthew Carter is optimistic that the team can overhaul Red Bull for fourth place in the Constructors' championship -…

    F1
  8. Mallya: Ecclestone needs to 'un-crap' F1 07:46

    Mallya: Ecclestone needs to 'un-crap' F1

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone should find a way to "un-crap" the sport if he feels that he doesn't have a good enough…

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: Hamilton in London 05:20

    Video of the Day: Hamilton in London

    Explore London with Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes driver visits his favourite places in England's capital city ahead of this…

    F1
  10. Friday 3 July 2015

  11. 21:16

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Silverstone

    F1
  12. Alonso braced for Q1 elimination 20:48

    Alonso braced for Q1 elimination

    McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso fears that it will be difficult to progress from the first phase of qualifying for the…

    F1
  13. Vișoiu docked three places for impeding 20:29

    Vișoiu docked three places for impeding

    Rapax driver Robert Vișoiu has been handed a three place grid penalty for the GP2 Feature Race after stewards deemed that he…

    GP2
  14. Williams drivers eye better one-lap pace 18:40

    Williams drivers eye better one-lap pace

    Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are chasing improved one-lap pace after the first day of practice at…

    F1
  15. Hülkenberg: New car immediately better 18:05

    Hülkenberg: New car immediately better

    Nico Hülkenberg expressed his encouragement with Force India's upgrade package as he says he was able to feel the performance…

    F1
  16. Red Bull pair encouraged by upgrades 17:45

    Red Bull pair encouraged by upgrades

    Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo spoke positively about Red Bull's British Grand Prix upgrade package after Friday's practice…

    F1
  17. Hamilton happier with clutch set-up 17:27

    Hamilton happier with clutch set-up

    Lewis Hamilton expressed his optimism after reverting to an older clutch set-up during Friday practice for the British Grand…

    F1
  18. Rosberg praises team for turnaround 17:17

    Rosberg praises team for turnaround

    Nico Rosberg has heaped praise on his Mercedes team for repairing his car during Friday's opening practice session at…

    F1
  19. 16:46

    Latest GP2 photos: Friday at Silverstone

    GP2
  20. Sirotkin beats Vandoorne for maiden pole 16:43

    Sirotkin beats Vandoorne for maiden pole

    Rapax driver Sergey Sirotkin claimed his maiden GP2 Series pole position as he overcame the competition during Friday…

    GP2
  21. 15:36

    British Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  22. Rosberg stays on top in second practice 15:33

    Rosberg stays on top in second practice

    Nico Rosberg remained at the top of the timesheets during Friday afternoon's second free practice session for the British Grand…

    F1
  23. Mercedes reprimanded over car cover 14:55

    Mercedes reprimanded over car cover

    Mercedes has escaped serious punishment for covering Nico Rosberg's car after his practice stoppage at Silverstone, with the…

    F1
  24. 13:50

    Follow second practice for the British GP!

    F1
  25. Comtec to make return with Delétraz 12:38

    Comtec to make return with Delétraz

    Comtec Racing will make its return to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at next weekend's round in Austria, with Louis Delétraz…

    FR 3.5
  26. Mercedes referred to stewards for covering car 12:34

    Mercedes referred to stewards for covering car

    Mercedes has been referred to the British Grand Prix stewards for covering Nico Rosberg's car as it returned to the Silverstone…

    F1
  27. 11:43

    British Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  28. Rosberg tops FP1 despite stoppage 11:34

    Rosberg tops FP1 despite stoppage

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the pace in Friday morning's opening practice session for the British Grand Prix, ahead of…

    F1
  29. 09:49

    Follow first practice for the British GP!

    F1
  30. Massa expects third season at Williams 08:16

    Massa expects third season at Williams

    Felipe Massa says he is expecting to remain at Williams in 2016, with the team holding an option on the Brazilian for what would…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Hamilton's Silverstone preview 05:09

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's Silverstone preview

    Mercedes driver and championship leader Lewis Hamilton looks ahead to his home race at Silverstone.

    F1
  32. Thursday 2 July 2015

  33. 19:12

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Silverstone

    F1
  34. Manor Marussia reveals updated livery 19:10

    Manor Marussia reveals updated livery

    Manor Marussia has revealed an updated livery for the remainder of the season after announcing a new sponsorship deal. The…

    F1
  35. F1 Strategy Group agrees on various changes 19:09

    F1 Strategy Group agrees on various changes

    Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, FOM and teams, who meet as the F1 Strategy Group, have announced a series of regulation…

    F1
  36. Formula E retains same 10 teams 17:24

    Formula E retains same 10 teams

    Organisers of the Formula E championship have confirmed that the 10 teams which competed in the in the inaugural season will…

    FE
  37. Verstappen: Toro Rosso behind only Mercedes 17:19

    Verstappen: Toro Rosso behind only Mercedes

    Max Verstappen reckons Toro Rosso has the second fastest car in the Formula 1 field, behind Mercedes, with only Renault's power…

    F1
  38. Massa says Räikkönen needs to 'relax' 15:33

    Massa says Räikkönen needs to 'relax'

    Williams driver Felipe Massa says former team-mate Kimi Räikkönen needs to "relax" if he is to get his Formula 1 career back…

    F1
  39. Nasr encouraged by Mark Smith signing 14:31

    Nasr encouraged by Mark Smith signing

    Felipe Nasr has described as a "smart move" Sauber's decision to hire Mark Smith as its new Technical Director, the team's first…

    F1
  40. Aoyama to replace Abraham in Germany 14:22

    Aoyama to replace Abraham in Germany

    Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will make a return to MotoGP in Germany next weekend in place of Karel Abraham at AB…

    MotoGP
  41. Canamasas joins Lazarus, Lancaster returns 14:12

    Canamasas joins Lazarus, Lancaster returns

    Sergio Canamasas and Jon Lancaster will make their returns to the GP2 Series this weekend after joining Lazarus and Hilmer…

    GP2
  42. Pérez targets Red Bull with new Force India 13:06

    Pérez targets Red Bull with new Force India

    Sergio Pérez says the arrival of Force India's B-spec car should give the team confidence to target fourth-placed Red Bull over…

    F1
  43. Rowland gets Silverstone MP Motorsport seat 10:03

    Rowland gets Silverstone MP Motorsport seat

    Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader Oliver Rowland will make his GP2 debut with MP Motorsport at this weekend's round of the…

    GP2
more news