NOVEMBER 29, 2003
What to do with old F1 engines
With plans for the new Formula 2 being formulated by the FIA and the current Formula 3000 teams, it looks likely that there will be a major change in the suppliers with chassis-builder Lola bidding to build the chassis once more but France's Mecachrome expected to get the engine deal ahead of current supplier Zytek. The Mecachrome engines will be badged as Renaults and will be based on the old Renault V10 engines used in F1 in the mid-1990s. These were sold to Mecachrome in 1998 and were raced that year by Williams and Benetton. In 1999 they were rebadged as Supertec V10s, the distribution having been taken over by a company called Super Performance Competition Engineering, which was managed by Flavio Briatore. They were used by Williams, Benetton and British American Racing but were not very successful and disappeared after 2000 when they were used by Benetton and Arrows.
Development was abandoned when Renault decided to return to F1 with a wide-angle V10.
Zytek has enjoyed three consecutive Formula 3000 engine supply contracts covering 1996-98, 99-2001 and 2002-04 and has produced reliable and cost-effective engines which need rebuilding only once every 2000 miles. The company has also used the experience of these engines to develop various engines for sportscar racing. In 2002 Zytek bought some of the assets of the defunct Reynard company with the aim of establishing a world-class racing chassis business and is expected to bid against Lola for the chassis contract.
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