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. Friday 31 July 2015

  2. Alonso tempted by other categories 07:54

    Alonso tempted by other categories

    McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso has admitted that he is tempted by a switch to other categories in the future, claiming…

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Fittipaldi on young drivers 05:21

    Video of the Day: Fittipaldi on young drivers

    Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi talks about developing today's young drivers.

    F1
  4. Thursday 30 July 2015

  5. 21:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  6. Walker quits as IndyCar competition chief 20:14

    Walker quits as IndyCar competition chief

    Derrick Walker has resigned as IndyCar President of Competition and Operations, with a search for his replacement under way, the…

    Indy
  7. Wolff: Mercedes will overcome poor starts 14:34

    Wolff: Mercedes will overcome poor starts

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is confident that the outfit will get to the bottom of its recent start struggles after successive poor…

    F1
  8. Video: IndyCar drivers preview Mid-Ohio 13:26

    Video: IndyCar drivers preview Mid-Ohio

    Various IndyCar drivers look ahead to this weekend's round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

    Indy
  9. Häkkinen: Vettel a danger to Mercedes 12:43

    Häkkinen: Vettel a danger to Mercedes

    Mika Häkkinen says Sebastian Vettel now represents "a danger" to Mercedes after the Ferrari driver stormed to his second…

    F1
  10. Hockenheim tickets set to go on sale 10:58

    Hockenheim tickets set to go on sale

    Advanced ticket sales for next year's German Grand Prix will begin later this week, with a series of discount packages on offer…

    F1
  11. Bahrain added to GP2/GP3 calendar 10:05

    Bahrain added to GP2/GP3 calendar

    GP2 and GP3 organisers have confirmed that Bahrain has been added to the 2015 calendar. Organisers had been working towards a…

    GP2
  12. Sauber bullish over car, engine updates 09:14

    Sauber bullish over car, engine updates

    Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn hopes the outfit will enjoy a post-summer break resurgence, with chassis updates and engine…

    F1
  13. Arrivabene: Räikkönen decision 'can wait' 08:34

    Arrivabene: Räikkönen decision 'can wait'

    Ferrari has suggested that no decision will be made over Kimi Räikkönen's future at the outfit until after the summer break…

    F1
  14. Video of the Day: Sound of painting an F1 car 05:27

    Video of the Day: Sound of painting an F1 car

    In the first of a video series by Mercedes partner BOSE, discover the sound of the perfect coat of paint.

    F1
  15. Wednesday 29 July 2015

  16. Vettel not ruling out title challenge 16:37

    Vettel not ruling out title challenge

    Sebastian Vettel has not ruled out fighting for the 2015 world title after notching up his and Ferrari's second victory of the…

    F1
  17. FE 2015/16 team names confirmed 14:07

    FE 2015/16 team names confirmed

    The official team names for the second season of the all-electric Formula E championship have been confirmed by series…

    FE
  18. Boullier 'guarantees' McLaren-Honda success 13:24

    Boullier 'guarantees' McLaren-Honda success

    Eric Boullier has offered a "guarantee" that the renewed McLaren-Honda partnership will succeed, on the back of its best result…

    F1
  19. Monza has '90 per cent' chance of new deal 11:58

    Monza has '90 per cent' chance of new deal

    Monza has a "90 per cent" chance of remaining on the Formula 1 calendar beyond 2016, according to Roberto Maroni, the President…

    F1
  20. Räikkönen laments 'unlucky' first half 11:02

    Räikkönen laments 'unlucky' first half

    Kimi Räikkönen says he is hoping for a change in fortune when Formula 1 reconvenes at the end of next month, after what the…

    F1
  21. Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Hungary 10:17

    Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Hungary

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net's race-by-race series, Story Behind the Shot, continues throughout…

    F1
  22. Feature: Hungarian GP's key questions 09:26

    Feature: Hungarian GP's key questions

    In the build up to last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, GPUpdate.net posed five key questions and pondered the potential…

    F1
  23. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in your mobile 05:21

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in your mobile

    Ferrari sponsor Santander showcases how Formula 1 has spread to everyday mobile phones.

    F1
  24. Tuesday 28 July 2015

  25. Amberg explains reason behind withdrawals 14:39

    Amberg explains reason behind withdrawals

    Swiss driver Zoël Amberg has explained the medical reasons behind his withdrawal from GP2 rounds in Austria and Hungary and…

    GP2
  26. Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance 14:06

    Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance

    Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko hailed Max Verstappen's "perfect" performance during the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Dutch…

    F1
  27. Vandoorne pleased to extend title advantage 11:30

    Vandoorne pleased to extend title advantage

    McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne says he was pleased to extend his GP2 championship advantage in Hungary, despite being…

    GP2
  28. Tost sure fifth position still possible 10:26

    Tost sure fifth position still possible

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost is sure that the outfit can still achieve its target of fifth position in the standings after…

    F1
  29. IndyCar to introduce new rain tyre 09:09

    IndyCar to introduce new rain tyre

    IndyCar has announced that a modified rain tyre will be introduced for this weekend's round at Mid-Ohio following development…

    Indy
  30. Singapore makes changes to circuit layout 08:56

    Singapore makes changes to circuit layout

    Organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix have announced that they will make minor changes to the layout of the Marina Bay Street…

    F1
  31. Hungary result to make Williams 'stronger' 08:41

    Hungary result to make Williams 'stronger'

    Williams performance chief Rob Smedley says that the squad's challenging Hungarian Grand Prix will make it a stronger force over…

    F1
  32. Video of the Day: Haas on Formula 1 entry 05:34

    Video of the Day: Haas on Formula 1 entry

    Haas F1 owner, Gene Haas, discusses how his team is progressing ahead of its planned 2016 entry.

    F1
  33. Monday 27 July 2015

  34. Arrivabene pleased to prove critics wrong 15:03

    Arrivabene pleased to prove critics wrong

    Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says he was pleased to prove doubters wrong as Sebastian Vettel claimed the marque's…

    F1
  35. Wolff: Rushed stop cost Rosberg victory 14:21

    Wolff: Rushed stop cost Rosberg victory

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons rushing Nico Rosberg's pit-stop under the Virtual Safety Car and putting on the slower tyre…

    F1
  36. Hungarian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 14:12

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Sebastian Vettel returned Ferrari to the top step, others pulled off surprise results, and some struggled at the Hungarian Grand…

    F1
  37. Teams back Pirelli extension for 2017 12:46

    Teams back Pirelli extension for 2017

    Senior figures from Formula 1 teams have backed the notion of Pirelli extending its tenure as Formula 1's sole tyre supplier for…

    F1
  38. Video: Rosberg's Hungaroring blog 11:32

    Video: Rosberg's Hungaroring blog

    Nico Rosberg reflects on his eighth-place finish at the end of a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix; the German was running second…

    F1
  39. Maldonado says stewards were 'very strict' 11:22

    Maldonado says stewards were 'very strict'

    Pastor Maldonado believes that the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards were "very strict" as the Lotus driver picked up a number of…

    F1
  40. Forward Racing to miss Indianapolis round 10:49

    Forward Racing to miss Indianapolis round

    Forward Racing has announced that it has taken the "painful decision" to pull out of the upcoming MotoGP round at Indianapolis…

    MotoGP
  41. Renault enjoys return to the sharp end 10:02

    Renault enjoys return to the sharp end

    Renault hailed another step forward as supplied teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso occupied three of the top four positions at the…

    F1
  42. Massa rues pointless Hungary weekend 09:17

    Massa rues pointless Hungary weekend

    Felipe Massa has described Williams' second non-scoring weekend of the 2015 season as "a blow" to the team's championship…

    F1
  43. Hamilton among drivers given penalty points 08:14

    Hamilton among drivers given penalty points

    Lewis Hamilton was among the drivers handed penalty points by the stewards as a result of incidents which took place during…

    F1
  44. Video of the Day: Meet the Nasr family 05:02

    Video of the Day: Meet the Nasr family

    Sauber Formula 1 driver Felipe Nasr introduces his family, which is half Brazilian, half Lebanese.

    F1
  45. 01:12

    Championship standings after Hungary

    F1
more news