Rob White was appointed Technical Director (Engine) on 1 January, 2004. His career has been spent at Cosworth, with involvement in designing engines for both F1 and Indycar racing in the US. He occupied the post of Chief Engineer (F1) at Cosworth before joining Renault, where he holds overall technical responsibility for the engine program. Here he discusses the new Renault contender for 2004….
I didn’t work on the RS24, having only taken up my position a few weeks before the official launch of the new car. Having said that, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the work of the team at Viry-Châtillon and I endorse 100% the choices that have been made.
The engine project leader Léon Taillieu, and the R24’s chief designer Mark Smith, have worked very closely together, and the results are impressive. Obviously, the objective has been to benefit from the lessons learned with the wide angle, and to fully utilise Renault’s expertise in F1 engines. The 2004 regulations impose absolute reliability, and logically, this is what the team has concentrated on. Every part of the engine has been reviewed, redesigned and tested. Furthermore, we have used extremely aggressive approval processes on the dyno.
Our aim was to combine all the most demanding operating conditions for the engine, and to guarantee the engine can cope with them. However, that’s not to say we have neglected performance. We will begin the season with a reasonable level of power, and intend to make progress both in this area, and also in terms of the engine’s weight. Major evolutions are currently under approval.
Furthermore, the team has been working on the 2005 engine for several months. This is a demanding period of the year: I have to share my ideas and experience with all the engineers at Viry-Châtillon, and then summarize the results. My role will be to coordinate all technical activities, to push forward on integration with Enstone, to take part in the development of the RS24 and to oversee the birth of the RS25.
Finally, we must keep one key thing in mind: our aim is not just to build an engine, but to produce a competitive engine/chassis package.