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News Article on Paul Rosche.

BMW's Paul Rosche must go down as one of

the most influential engine designers this

century. He's been with BMW around 40

years, and I think it's fitting that he should be

remembered on his retirement. He's up there with

Alfa's Vittono Jano and Ferrari's Gioacchini

Colombo; he just happened to work in a more

modern era. There's an important thing that's

dying alongside Paul retiring, too: the big

company guru. Paul was a guru, an example to

the young engineers. He could do virtually

anything he liked within BMW. He built Fl

engines on the OT, and he could experiment,

because BMW Motorsport didn't operate like a

large company. He was one of the old-school

engineers: hands-on, with fantastic ideas and

theoretical knowledge and, above all, real depth

of experience.

I've known him for 25 years. We had an

incredibly successful time together with no

arguments, few misunderstandings and very few

mistakes through all the Formula One years, and

during the McLaren Fl engine programme, which

was fraught from a timescale point of view. By the

time Paul said we could do the Fl engine, it was a

year behind. But his guys had a runner 13 months

after the first discussion.

I remember back in 1983, when McLaren won

the Fl championship. During practice at the old

Kyalami circuit, we had this engine upside down in

the grass the night before the race, with the crank

out because ofa problem. Paul took the cylinder

head off and found that it was something to do

with the mixture control, and fixed it. And that

was the weekend we won the championship.

He had a fantastic relationship with Nelson

Piquet, too. He took the practical jokes Nelson

used to play on him tremendously well for a man

in his position. Paul usually took a nap after lunch;

he used to curl up in his 7-series for 15 minutes.

One day, Nelson tank-taped up all the doors so

Paul couldn't get out and left a window slightly

open. Then he found me in the pits and asked:

'What do I need to make smoke?' I told him an oily

rag that's not quite on fire. So he got a rag, dipped

it in oil and chucked it in the car, and of course Paul

woke up and couldn't get out.

That sort of thing used to happen alongside the

hard work. There was a camaraderie that you don't

find among senior people. A character like that is

'Rosche wouldn't always do things in a measured, scientific

way. It the engine blew up, it blew up' someone who can be 

pleasant but powerful and knowledgeable and still enjoy a bit 

of fun. And he would always do things in a measured,

scientific, Germanic way. He'd take the wastegate

off, or give the engine more advance, or spray

some water on it. If it blew up, it blew up.

The 318 block we used to use was absolutely

standard up to 1lOObhp. But if we took the

wastegate off, that was really hanging the engine

out. If it made a lap, it made 1300 horsepower.

But we often broke an engine in half lengthways.

Paul looked at the cross-section between the main

bearing ribs (this web stops the head pulling off

the block), and there wasn't enough strength

there. We could make a new pattern for a block

mid-season, so he did a quick mod when the block

was cast, using a bit of wood to scratch away the

sandcast to make a thicker web.

For me, he is the father of modern BMW

engines. He did the classic six-cylinder engine and

the four-valve versions of the bigger six. He

developed reliable, high specific output engines,

and nobody had done that in the early days of

BMW. He could build long-stroke engines that

revved without flying to pieces and still deliver

great chunks of torque. He started telemetry with

Bosch, too. Back in 1981-82, it was a biscuit tin you

could put your grandmother in (and which just

relayed engine revs and temperatures), but he

became very influential in engine mapping.

When we were specifying the Fl road car

engine, for instance, I wanted the pick-up to be as

instantaneous as possible, which was why I used a

carbon clutch - three kilos instead of 10. Then we

thought about having no flywheel, and one of his

chief engineers said: 'We can't build an engine

without one.' Paul turned to him and said: 'Have

you ever designed an engine without a flywheel

before?' The guy said no, and Paul replied: 'Well,

donít say that until you have.'

Nobody's going to build an engine like the Fl's

6.0-litre V12 again - an engine that revs like that

and drives like that, with instantaneous response,

meets Californian emissions and wins Le Mans first

time out. For me, it's the ultimate road car engine.

I'm sure Paul is going to go on and design more,

but this is the end of his BMW business. That's how

I'd like to remember his career with BMW.