Formula One has been at the fore of automobile technological revolutions for decades as it acts as the testing bed for innovations at extreme and exhaustive circumstances. Apart from improving brand value, the wondrous inventions like traction control, launch control, electronic differential, Anti Lock Braking system, carbon fibre construction and composite brakes, adaptive suspension, paddle shifters, efficient fuel and lubrication systems, active aerodynamics, data loggers, hybrid motors, durable tyres and much more were directly substituted into the road car industry.
This is contributed by the ever-changing technical regulations governing the competition. Even before the true potential of aerodynamics in enhancing performance had been realised, the most extensive of modifications were infused upon the heart and soul of a racing car, the engines. Over the years, many engine manufactures have raised to the stardom before taking a short trip to extinction proving that unpredictability is F1’s only certainty. Here’s a look into the history books for such manufacturers:
The 1958 season was a watershed in the evolution of Formula One cars as the little-known Cooper Car Company designer Owen Maddock sketched a frame that accommodated engines at the rear which aided handling and balancing of the car for it being behind the driver. Amongst a field of Ferraris and Maseratis, Sir Stirling Moss astonishingly won the Argentine Grand Prix driving a mid-engined Cooper powered by a 2-litre Coventry-Climax four pod FPF straight engine before Maurice Trintignant replicated the feat at the next race in Monaco infuriating front-engined counterparts.
The smaller British teams shattered the morale and left the rest in their wake earning them the nickname “Garagistes” from big spending Ferrari owner Enzo Ferrari. The improved 2.5 litre Coventry-Climax engines made available for the following season saw fierce competition between the works Cooper of Australian Jack Brabham and Moss in the Walker team's Cooper. The modified transaxle turned out to be more unreliable for the works squad as Brabham took the title ahead of Tony Brooks with Moss in third.
Brabham and Cooper Climax retained both drivers’ and constructors’ titles while Lotus-Climax finished second in 1960. However, with a change to 1.5 litre engine formula the following year, Ferrari returned to winning ways as Climax struggled to make the 1.5 FPF competitive whilst having started working on a new V8 configuration dubbed as the FWMV. Boasting power of around 180bhp, it proved unreliable before coming in grips with the contest in 1962 with four victories.
The lethal combination of Jim Clark and Colin Chapman wedged with the superior V8 engine bolted to the back of Lotus 25 took seven victories and as many poles out of ten rounds on their way to the double crown in 1963. Narrowly losing the championship to John Surtees’ Ferrari next season after failing to take the chequered flag at the finale in Mexico due to engine failure, Jim Clark powered his way to second drivers’ title in dominant fashion the following year with engine power peaking at 213bhp. The Coventry-Climax engines won 22 races in total before withdrawing from the sport after deciding not to be involved in making a new 3 litre engine for 1966.