ENGINES: MECACHROME SA

Name: Mecachrome SA

Mecachrome SA was founded in 1939 as a precision engineering business and it worked primarily in aviation in its early years after World War II. The major contracts involved work with jet engines and on parts for the Concorde supersonic aircraft. Looking for top-level quality control Renault Sport approached Mecachrome in 1974 and the company began doing sub-contract work for Renault Sport's programs. When Renault Sport expanded to supply customer teams with its turbocharged engines in 1983, Mecachrome was given the job of preparing the customer engines and there was a similar arrangement in 1992 when Renault began to supply Ligier with the V10 engine. When Benetton acquired the Ligier engine supply in 1995 Mecachrome began to prepare engines on a random basis for Benetton and Williams.

In the middle of 1996 Renault announced that it would be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of 1997 and that it had agreed to sell its engines to Mecachrome. Mecachrome would then pay Renault - which had just been privatized - for engine development, thus avoiding problems with shareholders about the costly involvement in Formula 1.

These were used in 1998 by Williams and Benetton but neither team won a race and development of the engines slowed down. In May 1998 it was announced that Mecachrome had signed an exclusive distribution contract with a company called Super Performance Competition Engineering, which was managed by Flavio Briatore. This company agreed to pay Mecachrome for the engines and rebadged them as Supertec V10s.

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