Laurent Blanchoud has been in the scrutineers’ garages since the inception of the World Series by Renault. His mission: to make sure technical regulations are followed to ensure driver safety and a fair race.
A lifelong motorsports fan
Laurent has been with the Renault Group for more than twenty years. He began his career in the Parts and Accessories Department, dealing with engine reconditioning for standard exchange. He joined Renault Sport in 1999 to oversee the assembly of engines used in the Formula Renault 95. In 2001, he started working for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 doing technical inspections, a position he still held when the World Series by Renault was created in 2005.
Ensuring a level playing field
As a scrutineer, Laurent is responsible during the off-season for "drafting all technical regulations for a new car or updating evaluations". His duties also include managing the equipment used for checks. "Fairness between competitors is key. It’s what makes our formula race promotions successful. Everyone is on a level playing field, which is a boost to young talent."
During race meetings, he is mostly handles the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. On a typical weekend, he divides his time between "drawing up inspection requests, which are submitted to the race steward director; preliminary inspections carried out on Friday; and the compliance checks after qualifications and races."
Team members are in charge of disassembling the parts, which are then inspected by the race stewards. Laurent remembers one particular episode: "Oliver Rowlandcame to help his mechanics take apart his car at the Red Bull Ring. That’s really rare [for a driver to do that] - that was the first time I had ever seen that happen! Since he had helped build his car, he also wanted to take part in the final inspection."
"A great tool that saves an incredible amount of time"
As part of the launch of the Renault Sport Trophy, Laurent spent the winter working on a new platform that would make it possible to inspect both Renault Sport R.S. 01 and Formula Renault 2.0 models. Drawing on ten years’ worth of experience, the team was able to develop an innovative tool that raises the car so checks can be made on both the flat underbody and diffuser.