The stopwatch is always running as far as Anthony Leblanc is concerned, no matter whether he is monitoring events trackside or going about his work in Renault Sport Technologies’ Motorsport Department at Les Ulis, near Paris.
“At every meeting we provide technical support to the teams competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series,” said Anthony, who is responsible for liaising with teams. “Our objective is to ensure every car makes it to the starting grid and from there to the finish line.”
A key point of contact for all the stakeholders in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, he has to contend with the different cultural traits of the European teams competing in the championship, dispensing advice on operational matters and receiving support from the Motorsport Department in Dieppe in the process.
Backed by a team of ten engineers, it is Anthony’s job to ensure a level playing field for all the teams and that the Formula Renault 3.5 cars in action in this season’s World Series by Renault all perform reliably.
“It’s the focal point of everything we do,” he added, discussing an obsession that goes beyond the mere quest for pure performance.
Technical links with F1 and Formula E
In being analysed and scrutinized and in churning out reams of data, the cars reveal their secrets every weekend.
Always on the lookout for the slightest mechanical, electrical or aerodynamic glitch in the single-seaters driven by the champions of tomorrow, Anthony is now into his sixth World Series by Renault season, having acquired a vast amount of expertise since starting out with the customer relations service dedicated to the R.S. range of production vehicles.
Operating on every front, Anthony’s brief is also to ensure the technical development of the cars, which is achieved thanks to studies carried out by Renault Sport and its specialists partners, among them carbon-fibre chassis manufacturers Dallara and V8-engine suppliers Gibson Technology.
“To ensure the championship keeps evolving, we have to drive performance forward on a regular basis,” he commented.
Numerous links are forged with Renault Sport F1’s teams, to the extent that technical solutions are sometimes rolled out in WSR before Formula One and Formula E.
“The Formula Renault 3.5 Series should give drivers the opportunity to gain a grasp of the technologies used in F1,” he explained. “It has to maintain its status as a development series.”
A unifying passion
The 2015 season will see Renault Sport making use of low downforce in a bid to raise entertainment levels and enable more overtaking, with the aerodynamic downforce of the cars being reduced by 35 percent.
“We had to explain our decision to the teams and reassure them with regard to its impact on the track, especially in terms of safety,” said Anthony.
Playing a key role in the success of the championship, the technical director also has to ensure that the cars’ computer systems are compatible with TV transmitters. The challenge is to enable broadcasters to display braking and speed data or the throttle position as part of their race coverage.
From winter testing sessions with 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Kevin Magnussen to race days, motorsport shapes every move that Anthony Leblanc makes.
“We’re all heading together in the same direction,” he said. “Passion is what brings our teams together as one and allows us to excel ourselves.”