- C​redit: Daimler Media

P​odcast: engine guru Cowell on early career, Mercedes departure, and more

Mercedes HPP chief Andy Cowell features on the F1: Beyond The Grid podcast as he discusses early career, the switch to hybrid, his future, & more.

3w ago

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This weekend's F1 Beyond the Grid podcast was a relevant one, as the former Mercedes engine developer, Cowell joined Tom Clarkson for a chat, not terribly long after he announced some months ago his departure from the team.

The typical pageantry was once again gone through at the start of the episode, with the standard introduction and regular chit-chat kicking off the podcast. Immediately following this, though, the unique discussion about Mercedes' involvement in 'Project Pitlane' began.

After Cowell provided insight on the initiative, talk of racing resumed, as the Brit explained how his job has changed in the 30 years since he began his work in the sport. He told that his occupation is not the same as it once was, nor is his job title, as he has shifted over the years from a hands-on role to one of department appointment.

He recounted some stories related to his designing of Ford Cosworth engines in the nineties, and some of his work with McLaren in that time period, as well as the change to the higher-revving engines that defined the closing stages of that decade.

On the development methods of that time, Cowell stated that simulation was seldom utilized, and that instead engineers had to pick a direction and go with it, their decisions only ever helped by minimal computerization, and dynamometer figures.

Moving ahead in his career, Cowell spoke on the bigger change to hybrid power units in F1 2014, and how this entirely shifted their focus to maximizing efficiency as fuel and RPM had been capped, as well as the challenges this posed.

He spoke on how the decision was made to switch from entirely ICE power units to those of a hybrid kind, and from which point the discussions on this regulatory overhaul began, as well as the monumental effort put in by the team to perfectly calibrate their power unit.

He explained that the F1 team were deeply concerned about their PU, to the extent that they thought finishing the first six races of the season an impossible task. After this, Cowell explained to listeners what Party mode is, and the basics of how it works.

Then came the inevitable discussion of his upcoming departure from HPP as it is known, and the weight of his decision to leave. Cowell refused to divulge where he intends to go from here, as he stated that he has yet to decide on this.

Reflecting on his time thus far in motorsport, the Briton then spoke on how he chose the path of engines rather than the chassis side. He teased that he's always promised himself that he will one day do work on the chassis'.

On the topic of Lewis Hamilton, Cowell said that the impact of the Brit on the team cannot be overstated, and this chat led to one of how diversity can be better integrated with motorsport - something he says can only be achieved through on-site work at schools.

[​This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]

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