Ex-F1 car design-engineer Gary Anderson, now BBC's expert technical presenter, was working on F3 cars in the early seventies. Then Brabham team owner Bernie Ecclestone heard Gary was keen to get into F1. Behind the pits at one race, Bernie said hello to Gary, asked if he'd like to work for Brabham? Bernie then pointed to a Cosworth V8 engine that they wanted put into the back of a truck; Gary promptly picked up the Cosworth and lifted it onto the truck. Bernie had always had a very good, dry sense of humour, and had not meant his request seriously.
He hired Anderson on the spot; who went on from Brabham and other teams to design the brilliant, tight-budget, first Jordan of 1991, then moved to Stewart, which Ford bought and renamed Jaguar. Gary left a short while after a Detroit corporate executive-engineer gave a pep talk to the F1 team designers, telling them: "You'll do things the Ford way, or I'll find someone else to do it". The guy knew nothing of F1. Pity Gary could not have picked him up and put him on a truck back to Detroit. He could not have weighed more than a 3-litre Cosworth.
All the more sad if the Detroit man had a real engineering background, he more than most in the company should have known that there isn't a right or wrong, prescribed way to engineer. If there were, F1 wouldn't have developed at the extraordinary rate it has. I just finished watching the 1979 season for the first time, and they were regularly talking about several seconds being cut from the lap records of 1978. Can you imagine if F1 rolled up and slashed five seconds off the lap record in Melbourne next year? Unbelievable.
There's a great interview with Audi Sport's engineer, Ulrich Baretzky. Not vintage at all, but I would recommend it to anybody with a passing interest in how racing cars are made and the goings on inside a team.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TAhWdVU3M4
Besides some interesting things about Audi's sportscar programme, one thing he said about engineering stayed with me. I forget the exact quote, but he said that people don't like to be lied at, they are lied at by politicans all year long, and that engineers should not lie. But then somebody like the man from Detroit comes along, with the corporate politics, and there is a conflict between the two.
Great anecdotes about Gary Anderson by the way, had not heard of either before. Guess it's one way to get hired in F1!