30 SEPTEMBER 2017
FORMULA 1 DEMOCRATIZED
In 1968, Cosworth’s DFV engine became available to
anyone with £ 7,500 ($18,000) and a car to bolt it in.
It was a move that transformed Formula 1 overnight.
don’t know what I would have done
without it. Probably something desperate.
Like drive for Ferrari...”
Jackie Stewart was the main
beneficiary – 25 grand prix victories and
three Formula 1 World Championships
– of Ford generosity and Cosworth
integrity. But he was far from alone: 32
others won with a DFV at their shoulder.
“It changed a lot of people’s lives,” says
Stewart. “And I don’t just mean drivers. It
certainly changed [Stewart’s team owner]
Ken Tyrrell’s life. And Frank Williams’ life.
The DFV was the building block of
Formula 1. They were halcyon days: new
teams, full grids, better reliability.
Regularly we would do three or four days
of testing, two or three GP distances per
day, on one engine. It would never stop.
“The breadth of what Mike Costin and
Keith Duckworth – they should both have
been knighted – and their team achieved
was amazing. Colossal. Theirs was the
university of F1. Many people went on
to great things using the knowledge and
experience they’d gained at Cosworth.
“I had absolute faith in them. If you’d
offered me your DFV, I’d have driven it,
because I knew that nobody was getting
To Colin Chapman’s chagrin, the decision
to offer DFV to others after 1967 was
key to F1’s long-term health. The
perspicacious Walter Hayes, who’d put the
precocious Stewart on a retainer – £500
($1,400 at the time) plus a Zodiac (with red
upholstery) – as early as ’ 64, realized Ford
could either strangle or breathe life into it.
Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and
Ken Tyrrell were the first new recipients,
the latter running a French-built Matra for
Stewart. In this way a Ford-badged engine
won all but one of 1968’s dozen GPs,
and Graham Hill and Lotus secured the
drivers’ and constructors’ titles – both the
first of seven consecutive with DFV power.
passed Graham Hill’s
Lotus on the fourth
lap of the 1968 Dutch
Grand Prix, giving
the Scot the first of
his 25 DFV-powered
GP wins. (LEFT) Two
weeks before, Bruce
McLaren earned the
first non-Lotus DFV
win, taking his
eponymous M7A to a
Belgian GP victory.
Despite glitches such
as this DNF in France,
Hill became the first
champion in ’ 68.