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UK Engineers, what makes them more successful than engineers from other regions?


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#51 Petroltorque

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 19:50

The UK is no longer an engineering country. With the financial crash politicians have attempted to restore some of the engineering base. We have lost car manufacturing, which companies build our trains? Go into any hospital an look who the equipment suppliers are; Siemens, GE, Philips, Toshiba, Olympus not a Brit among them.

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#52 krea

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 20:39

Well, UK still does have Rolls-Royce, several Aerospace companies, BAE (though large parts of the engineering know-know aren't in the UK) and some "Hidden champions" -  F1 motorsports is one of the smaller niche business fields.

 

But looking at the declining industry in UK - UK lost alot of reputation as big engineering country.



#53 tifosiMac

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 20:52

The UK is no longer an engineering country. With the financial crash politicians have attempted to restore some of the engineering base. We have lost car manufacturing, which companies build our trains? Go into any hospital an look who the equipment suppliers are; Siemens, GE, Philips, Toshiba, Olympus not a Brit among them.

There is still an engineering industry in the UK, although it is lesser than it used to be or not as obvious in terms of major car companies. I work in engineering and my sector is very healthy due to foreign customers keeping us out of the recession. My wife also works for one of the biggest medical manufacturing companies who supply Europe, Middle East, Asia, USA and Australian markets and they are based here in the UK.

There must be a reason why Motorsport is still so healthy here too. Why is the Mercedes AMG engine development facility based in Northamptonshire? Aston Martin and Prodrive have stayed within the South East/Midlands regardless of foreign investment in the past. I think the engineering industry is healthier than many realise. :)

#54 chunder27

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 20:56

As someone who has worked in electronic engineering for many years and who is currently looking for work, I can tell you the job market at an entry level is very bad right now. Worse I ahve ever known even for contracting.

 

Most firms only R and D here now, and the only reason for that is they can't convince the brains to go abroad, and even then most of them have an R and D base in India, South American or usually damn China. Most production was farmed out years ago, with huge tax benefits.

 

It is going full circle for those that invested years ago, the communication issues, time constraints and often frankly poor ability of these workers has meant some firms are bringing work back here, no doubt fuelled by incentives from Government.

 

They bang on about HS2, but that is a tiny industry, the Midlands has been decimated losing Peugeot, Rover nad large parts of Aston and Land Rover. All that expertise gone to waste to buold call centres and immense supermarkets for a fatter population. We used to rule the skies, seas and land, but now we hardly make anything.  There are lots of reasons, but profit, boardrooms and Thatcher are some!!

 

It would take a revolution, and unless there is a war, that ain't happenihng, which is why at 42 I have to now think about retraining before it's too late.



#55 ElDictatore

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 20:57

Hmm. Difficult question. I would say the UK has to a degree the most motorsports engineers, mainly due to how their history panned out. They played second fiddle to the Germans for a very long time before they had the setback. Now they have university courses which focus on motorsport and racing whereas most other countries don't have that. And they had a big aerospace industry

Moreover most teams are multinational anyway. So it's hard to say that it's all UK engineers.

 

Otherwise compared to other on the global market right now their engineering isn't all that impressive. They have fallen back the last decades and there's no denying that. Would say that Germany, Japan, the US, etc. are more typical engineering countries. Just my two cents though. You could even list countries like Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden who do have a lot of innovation going on right now coupled with a good educational system but aren't in the market the same way bigger countries are or just with mid-sized but well-doing companies.

That's all just nitpicking though, if you look globally the UK is still under the top nations for sure, I just wouldn't say they're the best.



#56 krea

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 21:04

There is still an engineering industry in the UK, although it is lesser than it used to be or not as obvious in terms of major car companies. I work in engineering and my sector is very healthy due to foreign customers keeping us out of the recession. My wife also works for one of the biggest medical manufacturing companies who supply Europe, Middle East, Asia, USA and Australian markets and they are based here in the UK.

There must be a reason why Motorsport is still so healthy here too. Why is the Mercedes AMG engine development facility based in Northamptonshire? Aston Martin and Prodrive have stayed within the South East/Midlands regardless of foreign investment in the past. I think the engineering industry is healthier than many realise. :)

 

Motorsport is such a niche.

 

Why would you want to build an infrastructure for F1 motorsports somehwere else if you can just buy one of the many British companies? And buying older companies is how F1 works and how new companies get into it, anything else would just cost more money and take many years.


Edited by krea, 15 May 2014 - 21:05.


#57 pdac

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 21:35

As someone who has worked in electronic engineering for many years and who is currently looking for work ...

 

Good luck. I'm sure there's something out there for you.



#58 Talisman

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 23:09

The more interesting point is why Britain became dominant in motor racing.  It's mostly down to the Nazis and health & safety.  Without WW2 there wouldn't have been a bunch of ready-made circuits post-war; without health & safety it would have remained easy for the Continent to shut a bunch of streets with tape and let people race there and then.

That explains why motorsport is popular in Britain but not why it has such good engineering expertise.

 

I think a bigger factor regarding engineering talent is that Britain had one of the world's largest aerospace and defence industries until the 60's and 70's which then shrank massively resulting in an oversupply of talented engineers looking for alternative employment.  No other country has gone through the same process.  I would also agree with the post above about British engineering thinking being a mid-way point between German and Italian methods, flexible and quick but also developing ideas through to a point without extending lead times and making things perfect.  It doesn't work for developing a totally reliable roadcar but its very effective in motorsports.

Another factor has to be migration.  The best British engineers are not necessarily British in origin.  Traditionally engineers from the colonies who wanted to make it came to England because of the obvious shared values.  The best Italian, Japanese and German engineers tend to be just that, the best of their country.  The best British engineers are often the best and brightest from all over the world.



#59 garagetinkerer

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 00:19

Vinnie Jones is an oxygen thief.

I bet you wouldn't say that to his face... :rotfl:

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Proper pubs, proper beer? :rotfl:  Wonder why no one thought that to be the reason why a lot of teams are in UK.

____________________________________________________________________________________________



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#60 HeadFirst

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 02:10

Don't take it too seriously, it was a  bit of a pi$$take

 

My original point remains, it is a very small regional industry, the OP asked about engineers in general.

Who has the best aerospace engineers?

Maybe off topic, but I believe a large part of the basis for the US aerospace industry was founded of the availability of top British engineers made redundant by the cancellation of the Avro Arrow project in Canada.



#61 tifosiMac

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:56

Motorsport is such a niche.
 
Why would you want to build an infrastructure for F1 motorsports somehwere else if you can just buy one of the many British companies? And buying older companies is how F1 works and how new companies get into it, anything else would just cost more money and take many years.

Indeed.

#62 Disgrace

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:10

I recommend to OP to repost the thread in the nostalgia forum. There are some great answers here, but no doubt that community can fill you in on further details.


Edited by Disgrace, 16 May 2014 - 06:11.


#63 Lazy

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:52

Britain doesn't bother with the bikes because the British can generally afford cars.

No. because it's too ****ing cold for bikes.



#64 Jamelon

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 07:03

Britain doesn't bother with the bikes because the British can generally afford cars.

wot?



#65 Fatgadget

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 10:19

True. Although I'd be attempted to change "managers" for "accountants".

Bean-counters you mean! :p Reminds me about the Mini. Apparently word has it;
it wasnt profitable because the accounting department fecked up in their calculations as to what price to sell it for.Then again that may well be one of those urban legends thats been polished and embellished with the passage of time.As for what became of that iconic masterpiece of engineering,dont get me started on BMWs iteration of the modern day Mini..I bet Alec Issigonis and John Cooper must be turning in their graves.....

#66 Ksharp

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 10:42

To cite ferrari's struggle as lack of talent within their native engineers group, what is the single things that make all the differences where UK comes up on top??

It is absolutely a city legend that there's a lack of engineers at Ferrari or Italian Engineers. The fact that the team cannot sort things out doesn't mean the former. 
Could same be said about France and the supposedly botched 2014 engine? Let's save ourselves from generalization. 



#67 chunder27

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:46

I think when the Italian car industyr was boomin gin the sixties and seventies there were maybe a glut of decent engineers in Italy.

 

Same as France, when Peugeot, Renault, Alpine, Matra etc were all well funded and running quickly in the 70's the same.

 

Weird how it all fell away.

 

We have a silicon valley here and bravo for that, if it wasnt there it would just be another tesco warehouse or Next distribution centre.



#68 F1matt

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:48

Going slightly off topic I have argued for years (on other threads) that Ferrari should move their F1 design and construction team to the UK and leave the rest in Italy for nostalgia purposes, they could run the team more efficiently, economically, and ultimately improve on track results.



#69 Mario5

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:49

Maybe off topic, but I believe a large part of the basis for the US aerospace industry was founded of the availability of top British engineers made redundant by the cancellation of the Avro Arrow project in Canada.

 

I'm hoping this one is a joke.  :drunk:



#70 GoGro

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 12:09

The main reason why British engineers are more successful in F1 si simply because of culture and history.

 

I study engineering in France, and I see no reason why a British engineer would be better than me. If the british succeed in F1, it's simply because of history, and because F1 is a British based sport. Thus many young students choose a path that can lead them in a F1 career.

 

In France we have top level engineering companies (Thales, Alstom, Total, Airbus -that is Aibus, Eurocopter, Space Programm, ...- , Dassault, ...), which proves for a part that we have very good engineers. It's just that no engineering student cares about F1. I met representatives from Renault and Peugeot, and they never offer opportunities for their sport programs spontaneously.

 

Besides mechanical sports is not a safe spot in France: if after 5 years they decide to shut the program, then it's going to be hard to find something similar.

 

And i think the same goes for Germany or Italy.



#71 Jamelon

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 13:19

The main reason why British engineers are more successful in F1 si simply because of culture and history.

This. Engineering in Britain has a low social status compared to medicine or law professions, probably because the corporate world obviously sucks,  so many of the best students avoid it. It's not like in continental Europe at all. Engineering in English comes from people "working with engines", while in Europe the word roots to ingenuity. The engineering degrees in Europe are of a higher standard as well. The UK is ok for research (depending on what uni/department) but taught degrees are pretty rubbish. The advanced topics in the UK are left to PhD level study. All the foreigners we get here mostly come because they need a degree in English for some reason, mostly just for the language. I've had Italian and Spanish workmates with 5/6-year undergrad degrees who had amazing technical skills. In fact until recently you couldn't even work in certain European countries with regulated engineering practice as British degrees did not meet the minimum education requirements, and you basically had to sit exams and what not to get official recognition...



#72 docronzo

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 16:08

VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche...
Such succesful British engineering!

#73 HeadFirst

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 18:40

I'm hoping this one is a joke.  :drunk:

Why would you hope that? In fact it is true. http://en.wikipedia....da_CF-105_Arrow



#74 BRG

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 18:45

VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche...
Such succesful British engineering!

Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Mazda...

 

What's your point?



#75 J. Edlund

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 21:10

To cite ferrari's struggle as lack of talent within their native engineers group, what is the single things that make all the differences where UK comes up on top??

 

Ferraris Italian engineers are probably no less talented today than they were when Ferrari was winning season after season. Remember, Ferrari relied mostly on Italian engineers during those years. 

 

The main difference with the UK is the greater number of F1 teams based there, so unsurprisingly there is easier to find engineers and suppliers with F1 experience in the UK.

 

There is still an engineering industry in the UK, although it is lesser than it used to be or not as obvious in terms of major car companies. I work in engineering and my sector is very healthy due to foreign customers keeping us out of the recession. My wife also works for one of the biggest medical manufacturing companies who supply Europe, Middle East, Asia, USA and Australian markets and they are based here in the UK.

There must be a reason why Motorsport is still so healthy here too. Why is the Mercedes AMG engine development facility based in Northamptonshire? Aston Martin and Prodrive have stayed within the South East/Midlands regardless of foreign investment in the past. I think the engineering industry is healthier than many realise. :)

 

Why is Mercedes AMG engine development based in Northhamptonshire? Well, Mercedes AMG HPP was once founded as Ilmor by two former Cosworth employees. As a result, Ilmor isn't located very far from Cosworth. If you got one successful company in a certain industry, other companies in the same or similar industries tend to form nearby. If there happens to be a demand for an education for that specific industry, also these tend to pop up nearby.

 

You certainly can start a F1 team elsewhere, like in the US or Germany if you want. Finding good engineers will hardly be a problem if you´re prepared to pay, problem is that very few will have experience from F1 (or even motorsport). Same with the local suppliers, few in your area will have F1 specific experience. As a result the startup and possibly even the operation will be an uphill battle.



#76 D28

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:45

Going slightly off topic I have argued for years (on other threads) that Ferrari should move their F1 design and construction team to the UK and leave the rest in Italy for nostalgia purposes, they could run the team more efficiently, economically, and ultimately improve on track results.

 

There results for the past 64 years haven't been all that shabby. They have designed, built part of their cars in Britain before, but not for for any length of time; these intervals were not notable successful.

Apart from the Fiat largess, Ferrari benefit from a host of informal technical, and business support from their Italian base. Then there is the emotional support of the whole country; some things cannot be expressed in monetary terms. Ferrari belong in Maranello period.



#77 HoldenRT

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:15

There's been 11 British NBA players, 10 of them are English or listed under English. http://en.wikipedia....ign_NBA_players

 

Am familiar with some of those players, but never thought of them to be British/English.  They are nearly all exceptions, born somewhere else like Africa or USA and then moving to England at a young age.. then moving to USA etc.  Byron Mullens hasn't even lived in England!  Serge Ibaka did the same thing for Spain.. he has some Spanish blood and the USA Olympic team is so hard to get into.. why not play for Spain?

 

The ones who did this above are mostly good players and I've heard of them.  The ones that didn't.. the ones that probably are true 100% Brits.. never heard of them. :p And then there is the argument about what is a "true" something.  Where someone is born is one thing but IMO you can tell by the behavior and accent of someone, what culture they are from.

 

This is getting off topic though.  I've always been curious about this but it's never came up in anything.. the closest thing is this topic which is still quite different.
 



#78 superdelphinus

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:26

Because cantab

#79 superdelphinus

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:27

"Basketball is a global sport like soccer is."

Only in the sense that it is played in other countries surely? Nothing is like football really, in terms of scale of global participation

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#80 tifosiMac

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:35

 Why is Mercedes AMG engine development based in Northhamptonshire? Well, Mercedes AMG HPP was once founded as Ilmor by two former Cosworth employees. As a result, Ilmor isn't located very far from Cosworth. If you got one successful company in a certain industry, other companies in the same or similar industries tend to form nearby. If there happens to be a demand for an education for that specific industry, also these tend to pop up nearby.


It was a rhetorical question on my part, I know why Mercedes decided to set up in Brixworth and I know the history of the plant. I agree with you. :)

#81 HoldenRT

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:53

It's a complicated topic soccer vs basketball, best for another day in another topic I think.  Depends in you are talking pro leagues or just in general, like Olympics or local leagues or people playing in school yards or backyards.  Soccer is definitely the biggest overall.  It's rare that any sports are global.

 

To pinpoint one thing about this topic, to agree with above and what others have said.. F1 is based in UK.  Combine that with culture and history and it's hard for others to break into it or to have the will for it, because it's a very risky field unless you have the right luck or connections.  It's super competitive and the people who draw cricitism in these forums, all of them have made a huge accomplishment just to get into F1.



#82 TheUltimateWorrier

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:31

Couple of reasons I think... The UK's always been a land of tinkerers and back-yard inventors, not sure if that's something left over from the make-do-and-mend culture in the war but I suspect it was there before that too.

 

That's very true! Sort of like how there's a generation of kids who grew up in the 80s creating their own ZX Spectrum games. 



#83 Scotracer

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:58

The UK is no longer an engineering country. With the financial crash politicians have attempted to restore some of the engineering base. We have lost car manufacturing, which companies build our trains? Go into any hospital an look who the equipment suppliers are; Siemens, GE, Philips, Toshiba, Olympus not a Brit among them.

 

Just because the companies have foreign nameplates doesn't mean they don't have large UK engineering input. I work for Ford Motor Company as a Lead Engineer, in the UK. But the badge is from Dearborn, Michigan. 



#84 Dalin80

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:08

I'm hoping this one is a joke.  :drunk:

 

There was a lot of migration of people and knowledge to the states in the decades after WW2, hell the Miles m.52 gave a lot to the US supersonic project before the US refused to share data in return and let the Bell x-1 become the first supersonic jet instead.



#85 Alexandros

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:42

Personally, I've always wondered

 

1. why is the UK so dependendent on engines instead of building their own - that would have solved a lot of issues of co-dependency from france/germany/us and japan. It would also make sense for UK-based teams to collaborate on making engines.

2. why greeks tend to find their way specifically on car design & aero departments... (tombazis, prodromou, agathangelou)... they are a statistic anomaly in terms of world population and scarcity of top aero positions.



#86 mariner

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 12:55

Clearly the UK motorsport enginering growth kicked of after WW2 and at that time Britain had more "spare" time to persue such a thing versus some other european countries.but liitle in the way of pre packaged entertainmant.

 

The aircraft influnence was huge , if you put the large contribution of Cooper aside the whole UK Motorsports industry grew up in small area of Norh London and Hertfordshire driven by a group of De Havilland engineers and Lotus/Cosworth. Its long ago but the growth was truly explosive - in 1953  the newly formed Lotus company was cutting Ford beam axles in half to make IFS, just five years later it was in Grand Prix racing and had the glass fibre monocoque Eiite ready for mass production. Just ten years after starting it had won the F1 world championship and was building several thousand road cars per year. Such growth sucked in, developed and sent out engineers with a racing speed of work mindset.

 

Also, as a member I have to mention what the 750 Club did to create so many UK racing engineers - Chapman, Terry, Southgate, Broadlley, Murray etc, all F1 winning engineerswho  all learnt through the 750 club community. As a design focussed club I think that was unique to the UK.

 

Times have moved on and today very few complete racing cars are made in the Uk but the activities in the 1950's through 1970's built a self sustaining industry.


Edited by mariner, 18 May 2014 - 13:00.


#87 Scotracer

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 19:56

Personally, I've always wondered

 

1. why is the UK so dependendent on engines instead of building their own - that would have solved a lot of issues of co-dependency from france/germany/us and japan. It would also make sense for UK-based teams to collaborate on making engines.

2. why greeks tend to find their way specifically on car design & aero departments... (tombazis, prodromou, agathangelou)... they are a statistic anomaly in terms of world population and scarcity of top aero positions.

 

The Mercedes unit is designed and built in the UK



#88 kraduk

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 07:43

Same reason why Britain is good at rowing - it's visible and people aspire to it.  Whereas Britain is rubbish at baseball - it isn't and they don't.

 

The more interesting point is why Britain became dominant in motor racing.  It's mostly down to the Nazis and health & safety.  Without WW2 there wouldn't have been a bunch of ready-made circuits post-war; without health & safety it would have remained easy for the Continent to shut a bunch of streets with tape and let people race there and then.

 

it goes back further than that, as you are forgetting the whole industrial revolution and empire thing



#89 kraduk

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 08:07

let hope Renault's managers are better than their trains

http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-27497727

 

:rotfl:



#90 tifosiMac

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 08:31

Personally, I've always wondered

 

1. why is the UK so dependendent on engines instead of building their own - that would have solved a lot of issues of co-dependency from france/germany/us and japan. It would also make sense for UK-based teams to collaborate on making engines.

As has already been clarified above and discussed previously in this thread, the Mercedes engine is designed and manufactured in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, UK. This is ideal for the Mercedes, Force India, Williams teams who are all situated very close. Cosworth engines were also manufactured in the UK so teams have been collaborating with engine suppliers here for decades and are still doing so. 

 

Its not just F1 engines that come out of Brixworth either. They supply engines covering a wide variety of motorsport including Le Mans. :)



#91 Rinehart

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 08:49

An Aussie mate once pointed out (in a dig at British weather and naff sports) that we excel at all "indoor sports" (snooker, curling...)... 

 

At a stretch, single seaters not withstanding, motorsport could be considered an "indoor sport". Certainly the engineering part. Perhaps that explains it! 


Edited by Rinehart, 21 May 2014 - 08:49.


#92 BrakeL8

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:08

An Aussie mate once pointed out (in a dig at British weather and naff sports) that we excel at all "indoor sports" (snooker, curling...)... 

 

At a stretch, single seaters not withstanding, motorsport could be considered an "indoor sport". Certainly the engineering part. Perhaps that explains it! 

 

Cars are driven outdoors!

 

In simple terms (I am not getting historical or technical here) a lot of F1 team bases are in the uk probably to do with English being a universal language, ease of travel, centralised spot and up to date bases. Operating in the UK is very costly, hence the fall in this industry, but the standards are second to none.



#93 ensign14

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:16

An Aussie mate once pointed out (in a dig at British weather and naff sports) that we excel at all "indoor sports" (snooker, curling...)... 

 

At a stretch, single seaters not withstanding, motorsport could be considered an "indoor sport". Certainly the engineering part. Perhaps that explains it! 

 

We do better at the sports that require one to be seated.  Rowing, equestrian, cycling...

 

The reason for that is a genetic tendency for the British arse to be peculiarly suited for the motor skills required for such matters.  Its technical term is the London derrière.

 

i'll get me coat



#94 chunder27

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:29

Got to be honest when i went to Brixworth for a job interview, all they were making in there was F1 stuff, didnt seem to be anything non Mercedes going on, so they couldnt be building anything for Le Mans?



#95 tifosiMac

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:45

Got to be honest when i went to Brixworth for a job interview, all they were making in there was F1 stuff, didnt seem to be anything non Mercedes going on, so they couldnt be building anything for Le Mans?

Its all Mercedes as far as I know. 

No Le Mans any more either for obvious reasons  :) 



#96 tifosiMac

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:47

i'll get me coat

I've heard the BBC are bringing that back for a few episodes. ;)