Renault gives up on wide-angled V10

Fernando Alonso, Spanish GP 2003

Fernando Alonso, Spanish GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

Renault Sport has announced that it will be building a conventional V10 engine next year. This marks the end of the company's disastrous foray into developing a wide-angle V10 engine and puts the team well behind it rivals in terms of developing the latest V10 technology. It had been thought that Renault would simply get on with the engine rather than drawing attention to the failure of the previous policy and it was hoped that the announcement - the full public spotlight as F1 gears up for Monaco - would be a major announcement of a new engine chief at Viry-Chatillon. This has not happened and one can only wonder what Renault's PR machine is trying to achieve.

The technical management of the new engine will be based on the existing structure with the new project being headed by Leon Taillieu. The organization says that the new engine will be ready in the middle of January 2004 and given that previous Renault publicity said that building a new engine from new takes 18 months, one must assume that the work on the new engine has been going on for some time.

"Our objective," team boss Flavio Briatore is quoted as saying, "is to design an engine that can respond to the demands of the new regulations, imposing one engine per race weekend, while at the same time maintaining our performance targets. Basically, this will be a high-performance engine, reliable for practice and the race. In order to guarantee reliability it will have a "traditional" architecture, but without any increase in weight. It will have a high level of performance because it will benefit significantly from the technological solutions that Viry-Chatillon has developed over the past three years. Far from this being a step backwards, however, the innovative expertise of Viry means we will be able to develop a one-weekend engine (750 km) with weight and performance equal to those of an engine lasting half the distance. Whilst the centre of gravity height of the engine is an important factor, the integration of whole chassis, engine and gearbox package in order to achieve a balanced, stiff package combined with both low mass and low centre of gravity is of greater importance. The new engine configuration for 2004 will not hinder us in this respect. The key part of our strategy is to achieve complete integration of chassis and engine. The new engine will answer a precise brief and "wish-list" from the Enstone team headed by Mike Gascoyne. The engine and chassis teams will develop the overall package step-by-step in total synergy. We have implanted at Enstone a small engine branch, Engine Development UK (ex-TWR), which will be managed by Viry Project Manager Pascal Tribotte".

It remains to be seen whether this will be a significant enough step to convince Gascoyne to stay at Renault for two more years or whether he will now look at accepting an offer to join Toyota, which is rumored to be offering him a huge salary to design chassis in Cologne.

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