(3.000cc aspirated or 1.500cc turbo compressed)
It was one of the most prolific periods in F1 history. The rules only stated that engines should have 1.500cc, if compressed, and up to 3.000cc without it. Architectures were many, from the V12 of Matra, to the V6 and 12cyl boxer of Ferrari; the V8 Repco (which was based on a production Oldsmobile block and became champion with the late Jack Brabham on 1966) and the Cooper-Climax similar design. No other Formula One engine become as popular and symbol of longevity, however, than the Ford Cosworth V8, a unit created by a team commanded by Keith Costin and Mike Duckworth (hence its name), as the European brace of the car constructor convinced US-bosses that it could be a winning move.
And that it was, starting on 1967 and winning the first of its 13 world titles the year after, with Graham Hill and his Lotus. Virtually every team on the grid (Ferrari the biggest exception) had it at its cars, as the DFV was reliable, light, powerful and cheaper than the bigger rivals. And it helped squads like Williams, McLaren, Tyrrell and Brabham to reach stardom with limited budgets, as well as fueled projects for so many privateers, like Wolf, Ensign, Shadow, ATS, Arrows, Copersucar/Fittipaldi and Hesketh.
On the end of the seventies, F1 was virtually a F-Cosworth V8, as Ferrari was the sole real exception (which paid in 1979). But on 1977 french manufacturer Renault decided to follow another path and, as allowed by the rules, decided to create a turbo-propelled engine with 1.500cc. The Alpine V6 was totally unreliable (known as teapot, such was the smoke it left on tracks), hard to deal with its brutal power deliver and lag, and it made rivals laugh until 1979, when it won for the first time, marking the start of a new era. Soon Ferrari would follow, as other factories like BMW, that would be the first to win a championship, in 1983, with its inline four that powered Nelson Piquet’s Brabham. But the aspirated engines wouldn’t disappear soon.
From 1984 onward, FIA imposed a fuel capacity limit, then forbid aspirated engines in 1986 to allow them back the year after. Turbo pressures were also limited, to avoid the power escalation that made some engines deliver up to 1.500hp in their qualifying guise – they were nicknamed “Kleenex”, as they used to be discarded after a few laps.