Formula 1 engine builder Brian Hart passes away

Brian Hart with Ayrton Senna in the Toleman TG184 at the 1984 US GP in Detroit

Brian Hart with Ayrton Senna in the Toleman TG184 at the 1984 US GP in Detroit

Brian Hart, best known as the founder of Brian Hart Limited, a company that developed and built engines for motorsport use including Formula 1, has passed away at the age of 77.

As part of Toleman’s entry into the 1981 Formula 1 World Championship, after success in the 1980 European Formula 2 Championship, Hart developed a turbocharged version of the 420R engine.

Although it was initially underpowered and unreliable – compared to Renault and Ferrari –  it was enough to establish Brian Hart Limited as a Formula 1 engine supplier.

Ayrton Senna, in his rookie season as a Toleman driver, scored both his and Hart power’s first podium finish in soaking conditions with second place  at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. The Brazilian legend went on to notch up third-place finishes in the British and Portuguese Grands Prix that year.

Hart continued as Toleman’s engine partner until the team was purchased by Benetton and later supplied engines to RAM, Haas Lola and Tyrrell in the eighties, as well as Jordan and Arrows in the nineties.

Brian Hart

Brian Hart

Turbocharging was banned at the end of 1988 in response to the ever increasing 1000 plus bhp outputs, which meant a return to developing naturally aspirated configurations that had not been widely used since the beginning of that decade.

Brian Hart Limited returned to its previous role as a tuning and servicing specialist, working in partnership with Cosworth to develop its DFZ and DFR engines.

By 1992, Brian Hart Limited had funded the design of its first V10 engine – the Type 1035 – and in November that year, it announced an exclusive two-year deal to supply Jordan Grand Prix. It was a promising partnership that brought some good results – notably, Rubens Barrichello’s third place at the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix at Aida, Japan.

However, when Peugeot decided to enter Formula 1 and offered Jordan a factory deal, the contract with Hart was not renewed. Hart instead opted to supply Footwork Arrows, which was struggling financially at the time.

The lack of funds prevented Hart from developing the V10 and the older V8 was used instead.
In 1997, Hart turned to Minardi and began working on another V10 design, but he was never able to fully finance the project.

When Arrows’ owner, Tom Walkinshaw, purchased Brian Hart Limited later that year, the injection of capital turned that design into the Arrows V10. The deal was marred by legal action over money that was allegedly owed and Brian Hart parted company with Arrows before the end of the year.

Hart never returned to Formula 1. (Apex-Wikipedia)

Subbed by AJN.

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  • Imran

    1994 Belgian Grand Prix :)

  • matthew

    1000hp…. we won’t see that again anytime soon. ) :

  • farizY

    When turbo engine reached 1000hp, they scrapped it.
    When v10 na engine reached 900+hp, they scrapped it.
    Sucks indeed.
    Imagine modern aerodynamics coupled with tons of power, we might see incredible lap times. I can dream,can’t I? :-)

  • matthew


    It kind of makes you wonder where f1 would be today, 300mph and 10gs cornering?

  • Superseven

    I was privileged to meet Brian when he supplied engines to Jordan in 1992. I still remember the sight of a Hart V10 with headers glowing bright red in his Dyno room.

    Rest in peace, Brian. You were part of Formula 1’s best years.

  • johans

    RIP Brian Hart

  • farizY


    What a way to exaggerate. Not sure if you are sincere with that statement or just being plain sarcastic.

  • matthew

    @farizy I wasn’t trying to exaggerate, I simply implied what f1 could possibly have been if todays technology was combined with that golden eras engineering free for all. I truly believe 300mph on the longest straights and 10gs of cornering are fully possible. I never said it will ever happen. And in any case, my daydream that will never happen is no different than yours about modern aero with tons of power, I just put out hypothetical numbers. Not entirely sure why you called me out for continuing your train of thought.