Getting 'a Brazilian' has entirely different connotations for F1 engine supplier Cosworth after Nico Hulkenberg's fastest time in qualifying at Interlagos continued a remarkable streak of company landmarks with a link to the South American country.
The American-owned, UK-based engine builder only returned to F1 with Williams and the three new additions to the grid this season, but scooped a memorable pole as the former's Nico Hülkenberg out-smarted four of the championship contenders to top qualifying at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
With team-mate Rubens Barrichello also making the top ten, in sixth place, it was the seventh time in the past ten grands prix that two Williams were involved in the pole position shoot-out, and the Interlagos performance was given added weight by the fact that expected frontrunners Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg had already been out-paced by the two blue-and-white cars in Q2.
“We would like to congratulate Nico, Rubens and the entire AT&T Williams team on their performance today, and wish them success in tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix,” Mark Gallagher, general manager of Cosworth's F1 business unit, commented, “It's the overall package that achieves success, and we know only too well the extraordinary amount of effort that the Williams team and drivers have put into returning the front of the grid.
"For Cosworth, we too can celebrate this evening, because everyone involved in the intense work in Northampton can share in the success of today's milestone. The Cosworth Track Support Group has worked extremely hard all season, optimising the performance of our CA2010 engine in its first season under the demanding rules we have faced for the first time. In supplying four teams this season we have learned a great deal, and made impressive progress. All our staff supporting AT&T Williams, Virgin Racing, HRT and Lotus Racing have contributed to the overall goal of demonstrating Cosworth's capability.”
Hulkenberg's pole also allows Cosworth to embellish a set of statistics that already has a distinctly Brazilian flavour. The company's last pole position, under Ford ownership, came at the French Grand Prix in 1999 when Brazilian Barrichello took top spot for Stewart, while its last grand prix victory came in the rain-lashed 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, which was won on countback by Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan. Meanwhile, the late Ayrton Senna's last pole position during his celebrated career at McLaren was achieved in a Cosworth-powered car on exactly the same date in 1993, while the victory the following afternoon was to be the last of his illustrious career.
To complete the statistical line up, the last time a Williams-Cosworth qualified on pole position was when then-reigning world champion Keke Rosberg qualified his FW08C fastest of all for the 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix - some four years before Hülkenberg was even born!