Posts Tagged ‘Toleman TG184 Hart’


Jones in the Lola THL1 Hart, Monaco 1986, Q18 and DNF after a collision on lap 2. Patrick Tambay’s performance was perhaps more indicative of the cars speed, Q8 but again DNF after an accident. Prost won in a McLaren MP4/2C TAG Porsche (Getty)

Alan Jones in his Lola THL1 Hart at Monaco during practice on May 10 1986…

Just looking these pictures, note the Ford logo on the side of the cockpit, reminded me of the vexed, too soon launched Ford Cosworth GBA 1.5 V6 twin-turbo.

Jones and Tambay didn’t race the Ford engine in ’86, they contested the title with Brian Hart’s Hart 415T, 4 cylinder engine whilst GBA development continued at Cosworths. Best results for the year were a 4th and 5th in Austria in a sea of DNF’s. The Haas team then withdrew from F1, the GBA program torch carried forward by Benetton but not for too long…


The tiny Ford Cosworth GBA; 1497cc, 120 degree DOHC, 4 valve V6 twin-KKK-turbo, circa 750bhp, depending on month and spec, engine during the British GP weekend, Brands Hatch 1986 (Schlegelmilch)

That Brian Hart built an F1 engine is an accident of history. It was an evolution of the relationship he had with the Toleman Team who won the European F2 Championship in 1980 (Brian Henton won the drivers title) with his superb 2 litre 420R 4 cylinder engine (below) in the back of Rory Byrne’s TG280 ground effects chassis.


The 420R engine cutaway, note belt driven camshafts, engine extremely compact and beautifully packaged, an evolution of his FVA and BDA knowledge including his design/development of the alloy 2 litre BDG block (John Way)


The 420R engine has a bore/stroke of 93.5 mm x 72.6 mm, a capacity of 1994 cc and was the result of a long development path starting with Hart’s race preparation of FVA’s in 1969. Designed in house, blocks and heads came from Stirling Metals with the machining done at Harts. Gordon Allen produced the cranks, Hart did his own cams and developed the pistons with Mahle in Germany. Lucas provided the fuel injection. The engine developed 305 bhp @ 9,500 rpm with safe bursts to just over 10,000 rpm.


Toleman TG280 Hart cutaway, 1980 Euro F2 championship winner in Brian Henton’s hands with Derek Warwick fidhting him all the way in the sister car. Aluminium ground effects monocoque chassis, Hart 420R engine, Hewland FT200 5 speed transaxle. In 1981 Lola built customer versions of this design (Alenso)

Ted Toleman’s wealth derived  from building up the UK’s largest car transport business, his ambition extended to graduation from F2 to F1. Rory Byrne designed what became the TG181 chassis which team manager Alex Hawkridge told Brian would either carry a turbo-charged version of the 420R or Lancia’s turbo 1.4 which was doing service in their sports-racer at the time. So Brian set to with the challenge!


Brian Hart shows journalist Maurice Hamilton his handiwork in March 1982. Early test of the turbo-charged 415T engine. Look at that early turbo/inlet manifold (Hamilton)

‘I had never even seen a turbocharger,’ Hart claims, ‘and I didn’t understand intercooling’. His engine was the first British turbo Fl engine and the TG181 was as ‘big and butch’ as the TG280 was ‘nimble and slinky’. Packaging of these early turbo-cars was a big challenge even with the resources of Ferrari whose 1981 126CK was no picture of elegance either.

The first beautifully integrated turbo was John Barnard’s 1984 McLaren MP4/2 TAG Porsche largely because he prescribed very thoroughly the packaging of his engine spec to Porsche to ensure the needs of his chassis, particularly its aerodynamic effectiveness were not compromised by the engine and its ancillaries inclusive of radiators and intercoolers.


Monobloc all alloy Hart 415T, note belt driven cam drive and atypical Holset turbo, spec of engine as per text (John Way)

The first iteration of the 415T had a bore and stroke of 89.2mm X 60mm and a capacity of 1499cc. With a compression ratio of 6.7:1 and single KKK turbo-charger the engine developed circa 557bhp at 9500rpm compared to its competitors; normally aspirated Cosworth DFV circa 500bhp and Matra V12 510. The turbos were the Renault V6 540, Ferrari V6 560 and BMW in-line 4 557bhp.

The 415T engine was down on power and prone to head-gasket failure, drivers Brian Henton and Derek Warwick who had enjoyed so much Hart F2 success in 1980 repeatedly failed to qualify.

Hart was under lots of pressure and there was heavy tension between him and Byrne noting the shortcomings of the latters chassis. Derek Warwick later observed that Brian was a great engineer, a great person and always under-financed. And a pretty handy driver in his day…


Works Lotus F2 driver in 1964, here at Montlhery, Lotus 32 Ford Cosworth SCA. Brian was 4th behind Brabham, Stewart in the other Ron Harris entry and Jo Schlesser. Grand Prix de L’ile de France, 27 September 1964. Equal 13th in the Euro F2 Championship that year (Viollet)

Brian Hart raced with success, he dominated the 1172cc Clubmans formula and later raced in FJ, its successor F3 and in F2 during its most competitive period with grids full of ‘graded’, moonlighting GP drivers.

He raced the brilliant Mike Costin designed Protos 16 powered by a Hart prepped Cosworth FVA, a highlight setting fastest lap and finishing second to Frank Gardner’s works Brabham BT23 FVA in the slip-streaming blast title qualifier at Hockenheim in 1967. He was 11th in the Euro F2 Championship that year and 14th in 1968 driving a Merlyn Mk12 and Brabham BT23C both FVA powered .


Kurt Ahrens ahead of teammate Brian Hart in sensational timber monocoque Protos 16 Ford FVA F2 cars during the ’67 German GP won by Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco. Brian finished the race but was unclassified, F2 class won by Jack Oliver’s Lotus 48 FVA (unattributed)

He gradually phased from driving into building and developing race engines forming Brian Hart Engines in Harlow, Essex in 1969 gaining much success preparing and tuning FVA’s for racing and BDA’s for rallying. Ronnie Peterson won the Euro F2 championship in 1971 with a Hart prepared FVA (March 711M) and Mike Hailwood in 1972 with an 1850cc BDA. (Surtees TS10)

Brian originally trained at De Havilland Aircraft, then worked for Cosworths when they were building/developing the 1600cc Ford FVA F2 engine, the precursor to the great DFV in the initial 1966/7 partnership between Cosworth and Ford.

A turning point with the 415T was when Hart decided to build the engine as a monobloc, that is no separate head joint to be sealed against coolant, boost pressure and combustion leaks; ‘I decided to cast the head and block as one and in about a fortnight we gained 130bhp. Hart also used British Holset turbo-chargers and benefitted from their flexibility and willingness to develop their products to suit the engine. ‘And the new car (1982 TG183) was 90 per cent better’ Hart quipped.

The much improved TG183B scored 10 championship points in ’83. In ’84 F1 novice Ayrton Senna almost won at Monaco in the quicker TG184. Hart recalled working with the young champion ‘He was astonishing. No man until Schumacher could motivate a team like Ayrton. I asked him to remember the boost reading on one corner per lap, and he came back after a single lap with all the readings for every corner in his head. It was a new level of participation.’


Ayrton Senna in the dry during Monaco 1984 practice, this overhead shot shows the innovative aero approach of Rory Byrne. Car a bit fugly but fast albeit not reliable enough, Toleman TG183B. The famous race was wet, it started 45 minutes late, the two Renaults collided thru no fault of their own on lap 1 giving Patrick Tambay a broken leg, setting the tone of the race. The chequered flag was waved early by (factory Porsche 956 driver) Clerk of Course Jacky Ickx, without consulting the Race Stewards, on lap 31 giving the Porsche powered Prost a win in his McLaren MP4/2 TAG from Senna who was chasing him down. Behind him Stefan Bellof was catching Ayrton hand over fist in his Tyrrell, having started the only normally aspirated car in the race from the back of the grid.To this day enthusiasts debate the race outcome had it gone a few more laps let alone the full distance, 76 laps. A collision between Senna and Prost giving Stefan the win or a collision between Senna and Bellof giving Prost the win my two potential outcomes! Bellof’s podium was taken off him later in the season as the Tyrrell was found to be underweight by the FIA. Read a report of this event, the twists and turns from Martin Brundle’s practice crash to Tyrrell’s exclusion months later amazing. The race was notable for the fine delicacy of control these two tigers (Senna and Bellof) exhibited in such difficult conditions on the most unforgiving circuit so early in their careers, greatness apparent to say the least, unfulfilled, sadly, in Bellof’s case of course (unattributed)

In 1985 development was hamstrung early in the year when the team could not test as they had no tyre contract, this problem was solved when they bought the Spirit teams contract when they withdrew from F1. By this stage with Holset turbo, Hart/ERA digital engine management and Marelli fuel injection at 2.5 atmospheres of boost the engine developed about 740bhp at 10,500rpm.

A fantastic moment was when the car qualified on pole in the German GP after second session times were impacted by rain. The engine was estimated to be giving about 825bhp in qualifying spec with about 730 in race spec but reliability to a large extent had been lost.


Teo Fabi at Brands Hatch in the Toleman TG185 Hart during the ’85 British GP, DNF transmission from grid 9. Prost won in a McLaren MP4/2B TAG Porsche. Look at how neat the packaging of this car is compared with the earlier Tolemans, Rory Byrne and Brian Hart made great strides in development of both chassis and engines. The great shame is that none of Hart’s customers were ‘flush enough’ to fund a development program of Hart’s 415T to get the mix of power/reliability needed. Hart probably also shot himself in the foot by taking on more teams than he really had the resources to service properly. As you can see hindsight is a great strength of mine! (Fosh)

The Toleman team was acquired by Benetton later in 1985, who used BMW engines. It was a relief for Hart who struggled with small budgets and too many customers (Spirit, RAM and Beatrice-Lola) ‘I had my arm twisted to do other teams. Toleman simply couldn’t fund the development. I once told Paul Rosche (BMW’s engine guru) what we had to spend, and he said they spent that on blocks alone’ Hart recalled in a MotorSport interview.

Hart 415T; aluminium 4 cylinder monobloc weighing about 140Kg. Belt driven DOHC, 4 valve, fuel injected, intercooled and single Holset turbocharger 1459cc (bore/stroke 88X61.55mm). Between 650-825bhp at 10500 rpm depending upon spec and year.


Bennetton B187 Ford GBA 1.5 V6 twin-turbo (unattributed)

Going back to the Ford GBA engine early in the article, Benetton raced the ‘works’ Ford GBA’s with a modicum more success in 1987, 5th in the constructors championship won by Williams Honda the best result that year a 3rd in Adelaide for Thierry Boutsen at the seasons end.

Into 1988 and rule changes tipped the balance a little more in favour of normally aspirated engines so Benetton raced the B188 powered by the 3.5 litre V8 Ford Cosworth DFR finishing 3rd in the manufacturers championship behind McLaren and Ferrari; Ford competitiveness was returning and the GBA was placed on the shelf a victim of rule changes and being a little too late to the turbo-party…


MotorSport, Doug Nye ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’, Maurice Hamilton, Anthony Fosh, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Pascal Rondeau, John Way, 8W Forix, Alenso, Roger Viollet

Tailpiece: Brian Hart with his 830 V8 engine, it was fitted to the Footwork chassis’, 1996 Spanish Grand Prix…


After working on the development of the Ford Cosworth  DFR in the early 1990’s Hart built the 72 degree 3.5 litre V10 ‘1035’ which was used by Jordan with successful results in 1993. For the 3 litre formula in 1995 he ‘chopped a couple of cylinders off’, maintaining the 72 degree Vee angle to create the ultra compact ‘830’ V8.

Known fondly as ‘Jam Tart’, this immensely popular member of the F1 paddock died too young at 77 in 2014.



Gerhard Berger starts the long walk back to the Interlagos pits, Brazilian Grand Prix 1996…

Teammate Jean Alesi passes in his Benetton B196 Renault en-route to second place in the race won by Damon Hills’ Williams FW18 Renault,the Brit won the title that year. It was a great weekend for Hill, he started from pole, won the race, set fastest lap and lapped his mate Mikey in his new Ferrari F310 10 laps from home.

Gerhard qualified 8th and pulled off the circuit with hydraulics failure.

Schumacher joined Ferrari after his two Benetton World Championships on the trot at the start of 1996, the F310 commenced the season poorly but by the end of the year with hard work all round the car was competitive. Benetton were never a force after Schumachers departure morphing into Renault in 2002…Schumi left with Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn and other key players at the time.

Team Morphings…

At the same time i tripped over the shot above i looked at the prospective F1 team list for 2015, depending upon who actually lobs in Melbourne in March!

Of the 11 potential entrants this year only 3 have ‘unbroken lineage’ as marques; Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. Sure there have been changes in equity ownership along the way of these 3 but in essence the marques are ongoing.

All the other teams started as something else, often many years ago.

Benetton are a good example of a team which ‘morphed’ into a few different teams along the way.

Toleman Motorsport…

henton toleman

Brian Henton in his 1980 European F2 championship winning Toleman TG280 Hart. The team which designed, built and raced this car were the core of the team well into the Schumacher era of the team in its various iterations. (DR)

Ted Toleman, a transport entrepreneur became involved in motorsport initially as a power boat competitor and as a sponsor, initially of South African Rad Dougall in FF2000.

They progressed to F2 with Rad racing customer March and Ralt cars and became a manufactuer with the fantastic Toleman TG280 Hart, this 2 litre ground effects F2 machine designed by Rory Byrne, late of Royale for whom he had designed some great cars, the 75′ Royale RP21 one of the alltime best FF cars.

Brian Henton won the 1980 European F2 Championship from teammate Derek Warwick, the whole team including its drivers progressing to F1 in 1983, and famously launching the F1 career of Ayrton Senna in 1984.

Toleman attracted Benetton as a sponsor in 1985, the clothing manufacturer acquiring the team and renaming it in their own image with effect the 1986 season.

senna monaco 1984

Senna drove the underpowered but fairly explosive in its power delivery, Toleman TG184 Hart to 2nd place with great, deft precision. Only an eagerly waved red flag stopping the Brazilian from passing an a slowing Prost…with Stefan Bellof also coming home strongly from the rear of the grid in his Tyrrell. Bellof was making similar progress to Senna as Senna was to Prost…what a finish it could have been. To be fair there were a lot of accidents, the red flag was justified..if only it went out a few laps later! (Unattributed)

Benetton Formula Ltd…

Over the years the team used BMW, Ford and Renault engines with Flavio Briatore, Tom Walkinshaw and David Richards having key management roles along the way.

Drivers included Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Sandro Nannini, Thierry Boutsen, Nelson Piquet, Roberto Moreno, Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Patrese.

The teams most successful period was in 1994/5, with Schumacher taking the drivers title in 1994 with the Ford V8 Zetec powered B194 and both drivers and constructors titles with the Renault RS7 V10 powered B195 in 1995.

Renault acquired the team in March 2000, leaving its name as Benetton in 2000/1 before changing the name to Renault F1 Team…Equipe Renault Elf the earlier incarnation of the Renault F1 team as a constructor from 1977-1985 before withdrawing as a constructor but continuing as an engine supplier to the likes of Williams and Lotus.

Renaults’ Grand Prix heritage stretches right back to the Edwardian period with Ferenc Szisz winning the 1906 French Grand Prix in a Renault AK90CV, they have been in and out of the sport as corporate marketing and engineering needs changed over 100 years.


Gerhard Berger, Monaco 1986 in the Benetton B186 BMW. Gerhard qualifed 5th, wheel drive peg failure causing his retirement. Alain Prost won the race in a McLaren MP4 TAG. (Unattributed)

Renault F1 Team…

The teams sweet spot was with Fernando Alonso in the mid-2000’s, the Spaniard winning the drivers and constructors championships in 2005 and 2006 with the R25 and R26 powered by Renaults RS25 3 litre V10 and RS26 2.4 litre V8 respectively.

alonso monaco 2008

Alonso Monaco 2008 in his Renault R28. He qualified 7th and finished 10th in the race won by Hamiltons’ McLaren MP4/23 Mercedes. Tight lines as far as the eye can see.(Unattributed)

The teams competitiveness waned with the departure of Schumacher and other key players to Ferrari at the end of 2005.

Kubica monaco 2010

Robert Kubica added some firepower to the team in 2010, here in Monaco he qualified his Renault R30 second to Mark Webbers’ winning Red Bull RB6 Renault, the pair finishing the race in that order. Kubica replaced Alonso after he left for Ferrari at the end of 2009, his promise unfulfilled after the rallying accident which seriously broke his arm, preventing his return to an F1 cockpit.(Unattributed)

Lotus Renault GP…

In 2010 Renault sold a 75% stake in the company to Genii capital , a Luxembourg based investment company given road car commercial pressures. Renault announced its plans to scale back its F1 involvement, Toyota, Honda and BMW withdrawing from the sport for similar reasons.

Lotus Cars entered into a sponsorship agreement till 2017 with the team renamed Lotus Renault GP for 2011 but the cars themselves still called Renaults…and competed with Team Lotus (modern) who had acquired the rights to this historic name from former World Champ James Hunts’ brother David Hunt.

So, essentially there were two Lotus’ competing in 2011, the ‘Lotus Renault GP’ Teams Renault R31 and the ‘Team Lotus’ Lotus T128 Renault…will the real Lotus Renault please stand up!

It could only happen in modern F1, Lotus fans wept and Chapman turned in his grave…at least the Lotus sponsored Renault R31’s were competitive but the Lotus T128’s were shit-boxes at best.


petrov monaco 2011

Vitaly Petrovs’ Renault R31, entered by Lotus Renault GP. 10th on the grid and DNF after a collision on lap 67. Monaco 2011. Compare and contrast with the other ‘Lotus’ of Trullis’ below…(LAT)

Team Lotus (modern) raced in F1 as ‘Lotus Racing’ in 2010, that entity a group set up and funded by a group of Malaysian businessmen lead by Tony Fernandez who had secured a licence to use the name from Lotus Cars owner, Proton cars, a national Malaysian road car manufacturer.

This ‘dual Lotus’ naming situation was resolved when Fernandez acquired Caterham Cars, see the paragraph below, renaming the team Caterham F1 Team, the cars, wait for it, also Renault powered!

team lotus

Jarno Trulli, poor sod, in the Lotus T128 Renault, entered by Team Lotus, Monaco 2011, 13th in the race, 2 laps down on Vettels’ victorious Red Bull RB7 Renault. (Unattributed)

A bit of history here…Team Lotus (old) was the entity under which Colin Chapman competed in Grand Prix Racing…in simple terms, and its not quite this simple; in the Chapman Lotus World ‘Group Lotus Ltd’ built the road cars, ‘Lotus Components’ built the racing cars and ‘7’ until sold to Graham Nearn in 1971, Nearn rebranding the cars ‘Caterham’ as he wasn’t allowed to call them Lotuses’ under the deal he struck with Chapman, and ‘Team Lotus’ raced the cars…simple isn’t it!?

Renault, as stated above continued to supply the chassis (for the Lotus Renault GP team) from the Enstone, UK base which dated back to Benetton days, with Renault branding featuring in black and gold livery which echoed the ‘glory days’ of the Lotus ‘John Player Specials’ of the 70’s. Whilst the visual links were clear the innovative designs and race winning ability were not!

From 2012 the team has been known as Lotus F1 Team…

kimi 1

Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus E20 Renault, Q8 and 9th in the race won by Mark Webbers’ Red Bull RB8 Renault (LAT)

Kimi Raikkonen, having returned to F1 from a two year stint in rallying and Romain Grosjean really made the E20 Renault RS27 engined cars sing in 2012 .


Romain Grosjean at Monaco in the 2014 Lotus E22 Renault, like most of the 2014 cars ‘as ugly as a hatful of arseholes’ as we colloquially put it in this country… he finished 8th in the race won by Nico Rosbergs’ Mercedes W05. (Unattributed)

And so to the present. The Lotus F1 team have entered the 2015 season with their Lotus E23 Mercedes to be driven by Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, the long relationship with Renault as engine provider over for now at least.

The Administrator of Caterham, an administrator to the company being appointed in October 2014 due to funding deficiencies, have provisionally entered the season with dispensation being provided to run the 2014 chassis to improve the potential of the companies sale. ‘Crowdfunding’ being used to raise some working capital. The ‘CF1 Caterham team’ would therefore use the 2014 Caterham CT05 Renault with drivers TBA…

The next morphing of Toleman/Benetton/Renault/Lotus Renault/Lotus F1 will be interesting but far from the last! It begs the question as to which team has ‘morphed’ the most in F1 history…Minardi or Jordan maybe?

Photo Credits…

D Reinhard, LAT, DR