Renault F1 Team Technical Director Mike Gascoyne put a radically new organization in place when he arrived at Enstone in 2001. The aim was to maximise the length of time available for designing a new car, and the design office is now reaping the rewards: two technical teams work in parallel, and each has twelve months to conceive a new car. "Tim Densham spent 2002 hard at work on the R23, which he has also developed this season," explains Mike. "In parallel, Mark Smith began work on R24, the design of which began last December. And then, while Mark is developing the new car in 2004, Tim will begin the process again with R25…"
The new chassis, which incorporates the change in engine architecture for next year, is already being tested in the wind tunnel. A 50% scale model of the R24 has been on the rolling road for a number of weeks. "Strangely enough, the model is actually painted green," explains Mike. "The reasoning behind it is very simple: it doesn’t make it any faster, but means we avoid any potential confusion with models from previous years when it comes to keeping parts in Stores." Furthermore, a dark colour means shadows can be seen better, allowing the team to spot quickly any possible problems in the tunnel.
It is still too early to go into detail about the new car, but Mike is nonetheless confident. "The R23 is already very aerodynamically efficient," added Mike. "With the R24, we hope to make another step forward. The data we have already collected is encouraging, and there are still six months available to hone the project. We are pushing ahead at full speed."