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 25 October 2014

  2. Marussia also set to miss United States GP 10:48

    Marussia also set to miss United States GP

    Marussia is set to join Caterham in missing next weekend's United States Grand Prix after Formula 1 supremo Bernie...

    F1
  3. Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits 10:21

    Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Circuit of the Americas, the venue for next weekend's United States Grand...

    F1
  4. 08:02

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  5. Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia 07:59

    Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia

    World Champion Marc Márquez set the fastest ever MotoGP lap of Sepang as he stormed to a record-breaking 13th pole position...

    MotoGP
  6. Video of the Day: Button on road safety 05:12

    Video of the Day: Button on road safety

    McLaren driver Jenson Button lists the components necessary to be safe on the road.

    F1
  7. Friday 24 October 2014

  8. Caterham F1 set to miss next two races 18:01

    Caterham F1 set to miss next two races

    Caterham looks set to skip the next two Formula 1 races after Bernie Ecclestone gave the squad special dispensation for the...

    F1
  9. Video: Behind the scenes at Force India 16:34

    Video: Behind the scenes at Force India

    Take a closer look at the inner workings of Force India's factory at Silverstone in this behind the scenes video, featuring...

    F1
  10. 15:59

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  11. Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal 15:57

    Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal

    Lotus is just "a few details" away from signing a fresh agreement with Romain Grosjean, according to Deputy Team Principal...

    F1
  12. Caterham handed over to administrators 12:10

    Caterham handed over to administrators

    The Caterham Formula 1 team's management has decided to step back and hand over to administrators, in the wake of a public...

    F1
  13. Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race 09:41

    Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race

    Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg take part in a different kind of battle.

    F1
  14. 09:39

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  15. Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang 09:38

    Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang

    Dani Pedrosa set the standard on the first day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The Repsol Honda rider...

    MotoGP
  16. F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test 07:28

    F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test

    Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon has completed his maiden Formula 1 test with Lotus after receiving two days of running in...

    F1
  17. Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight 05:03

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa picks his fondest Malaysian Grand Prix memory ahead of this year's event.

    MotoGP
  18. Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut 04:16

    Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut

    Roy Nissany described his first experience of Formula 1 machinery as "amazing" after enjoying a day of testing with the...

    F1
  19. Thursday 23 October 2014

  20. Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims 19:39

    Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims

    Caterham buyer Engavest "strongly refutes allegations" made by Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald,...

    F1
  21. Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer 15:58

    Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer

    Tony Fernandes says the Caterham F1 team's buyer is fully responsible for the ongoing problems at Leafield, claiming that it...

    F1
  22. Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief 15:00

    Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief

    Ramon Aurin will replace Mike Leitner as Dani Pedrosa's Race Engineer next season. The Repsol Honda rider confirmed...

    MotoGP
  23. Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1 13:21

    Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1

    The consortium that purchased Caterham F1 at the end of June has insisted that Tony Fernandes did not transfer the relevant...

    F1
  24. Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory 11:54

    Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory

    Further doubt has been cast over Caterham's ability to contest the remainder of the 2014 Formula 1 season after staff...

    F1
  25. MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015 10:55

    MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015

    The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has published a provisional entry list for the 2015 MotoGP season, with the...

    MotoGP
  26. Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia 10:13

    Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia

    Adderly Fong completed his maiden Formula 1 test on Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Sauber's two-year-old C31 in...

    F1
  27. Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up 09:43

    Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up

    Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez have been confirmed on the line-up for the upcoming Austin Fans' F...

    F1
  28. Video of the Day: Racing without a driver 05:08

    Video of the Day: Racing without a driver

    A driverless Audi RS 7 was recently sent out to tackle the Hockenheim circuit. Find out how it fared.

    Misc
  29. Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia 04:47

    Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia

    Amlin Aguri has confirmed that António Félix da Costa will partner Katherine Legge for the second round of the Formula E s...

    Formula E
  30. Wednesday 22 October 2014

  31. Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit

    Caterham's new bosses have warned that they could be forced to step away from the F1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes...

    F1
  32. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  33. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  34. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  35. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  36. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  37. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  38. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  40. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  41. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  42. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  43. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  44. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
  45. Video: Miami welcomes Formula E 09:30

    Video: Miami welcomes Formula E

    Watch as the track layout for the Miami ePrix, scheduled to take place on March 14 next year, is revealed.

    Formula E
more news