Honda F1 website

MAY 16, 2003

Illien to Renault?

It was rumored in the paddock in Austria that Mercedes-Benz engine designer Mario Illien has been offered a role as head of the Renault Sport engine operation in Paris, replacing Jean-Jacques His.

Illien has been designing the Mercedes-Benz F1 engines since the start of the program but was recently bought out of Ilmor Engineering by Mercedes-Benz, which has installed Dr. Werner Laurenz, formerly of BMW, in the Brixworth operation. He is now working alongside Illien on the Mercedes V10s.

The 53-year-old Swiss engineer, who has worked in F1 on and off since 1971, set up Ilmor Engineering in 1983 with Paul Morgan and the company enjoyed great success in CART and later in F1 - although in recent years the competition has intensified from Ferrari and BMW. Renault, on the other hand, has been struggling constantly since the decision was taken to return to F1 officially a couple of years ago.

Illien is refusing to comment on the stories.