The Big Interview: Lucas Wilson and Andy Davies
A pleasure as always Gary! We have had a good day today [Wednesday] setting the 4th fastest time, so its good that we have improved over Tuesday. I always enjoy testing, seeing the new designs, new liveries, who is fast, who isn’t…hopefully we can be fast! (smiles)
So, on the engine front, when exactly did you and VW make the decision to run such a radical engine layout in Formula One?
Just after the 2nd race of the season. VW had got in contact with us after the Australian GP saying they would like to supply engines to a F1 team. I have always said that F1 cars should be loud and fast, I knew that VW had some experience in making these engines, such as in their Bentley brand. As soon as I realised I thought, that’s what we are going to do!
How has it been performing so far? Is there a lot of optimism about the concept or is it proving difficult to adjust to a totally different design to the Yamaha V8 you ran last year? Most importantly, how are you finding the power output and packaging demands that have come about because of the change?
AD: It is a whole new challenge, no engine like this has ever been built in modern F1 racing, so it was a long hard year of development. We have had many difficulties with it as you can imagine with including the mounting of the engine and making a chassis that can accommodate such a large engine. I think the engine must have blown up about three times when we were first testing, but these things have been refined. The power from the engine is incredible, we could easily get 900 hp from it, of course we have to limit it to meet VFIA standards.
The variety this has introduced to the grid is simply brilliant, so Lucas, was this something that was possibly even more important than the engine giving you a performance boost? Is this a marketing decision as much as a legitimate path of development?
Yes, it was a bit of both, both me and VW wanted an incredible engine. This year we have 2 other German car makers in the series, as well as other manufacturers like Peugeot and Honda, so there is a lot of competition between car makers. VW
wanted to make the ultimate F1 engine, they had the facilities and it was something I very much wanted to get involved in.
Again, thanks guys for the chat, good luck for the season ahead!
Thank you very much!
a greater amount of horsepower, despite the regulations limiting the team to a 4.5 litre displacement.
radical designs have proven problematic. One thing that is certain however is the fact that the W12 has caused a stir amongst engineers and fans alike in a way few innovations have before.