What benefit has Renault so far gained from its F1 involvement ?
First of all, we should talk of benefits in the plural rather than singular. Being involved in F1 works on many levels, both technical and commercial. The solutions and developments honed by our team of engineers at Viry are cutting edge and the expertise gained from these exercises is directly relayed through to our road car ranges ; throughout the year we have a large team of engineers from production. This team of approximately 30 people – around 10% of the workforce of Viry – are fully integrated into the F1 engine programme and the knowledge of the processes and developments needed to succeed at the highest level of motorsport under extreme pressure goes with them when they return to the parent company. Naturally we also have the benefits of participating in F1 on a marketing level. Winning against tough, well-respected teams demonstrates the outstanding quality of the Renault technology and can be used within numerous campaigns throughout the Renault network, both internally and externally. On a basic level, having the Renault name involved in F1 allows us to reach people in markets that are hard to penetrate due to their size, such as China and India.
What are the key targets for 2013 ?
2012 was an incredibly successful year in terms of results across our four partners. Three of the four teams winning races – the first time since 1983 that an engine manufacturer has won with three different teams – with all four finishing in the top ten of the constructors’ championship. There were also impressive milestones, including the triple double with Red Bull Racing, our 150th win and the 200th pole. Success also breeds expectation, which means we have a lot to live up to in 2013. We weren’t trouble-free though so this has got to be the aim this year ; the same, if not greater, success, with improved reliability.
How can it achieve even better results ?
There were some reliability issues throughout the year so we have put in place procedures and measures to safeguard against this. We are very conscious that this year will be the final year of the V8 and we will progressively switch from these operations to the V6 as we get closer to the end of the season. Therefore we need to be completely on top of our game right from the start. This means providing absolutely optimum service to each of our partners, in reliability and also what they need us to do.
How will Renault manage the transition from the V8 to the V6 this year ?
The introduction of the new regulations is the biggest challenge for an engine manufacturer in almost 10 years, perhaps ever so we have been preparing for this since the changes were finalised in 2011. The core team working on the V6 was put in place immediately and it has been steadily growing since this point as the designs have advanced. This will happen more throughout the year until the balance becomes greatly in favour of the V6 and only a core team remains for the track operations and reliability of the V8 in the second part of the year. This is why getting everything right from the start is so important.