Although it is months before the 2004 season gets underway, development of the new Formula One contenders is never ending. The Renault F1 team’s official website has revealed a little insight into the concepts of their new challenger, the R24, and the following is a guide to the next Renault F1 car.
Twin-shift, an optimum organization. The technical structure set up at Enstone two years ago is now bearing fruit. The advantages of the ‘twin-shift’ system means that every Renault chassis is the product of at least twelve months’ work. The idea behind it is simple: as team A develops the chassis of the current year, team B is hard at work on the next year’s chassis. This second group then develops the car throughout its life while team A begins work on the successor.
Tim Densham supervised the design and development o the R23, and during this time, Mark Smith was coordinating work for 2004. In fact, he has been working on R24 since 2002, while in the coming weeks, Tim Densham will turn his thoughts to 2005.
“We both attend the same technical meetings,” explains Mark Smith, chief designer. “We are both kept informed of the technical direction the design office is taking on each project, and how these projects are evolving. These meetings take two hours a week, and allow us to ensure coherence between the two programs.”
Plenty of new ideas. The design of the 2004 car began after Indianapolis… 2002. That was 13 months ago!
“During this period, we kicked off two innovative programs with a view to next year’s championship,” explains Mark Smith. “The first of these concerns the transmission and the second incorporates a new philosophy of suspension design.”
The organization at Enstone afforded the team a hitherto unimaginable luxury:
“The amount of time at our disposal meant that not only could we design some brand new components, but even produce and test them in full scale. That is the kind of thing you could only dream about five years ago, and it has given us the opportunity to push our ideas to the limit, to study each one and to ensure they work properly and reliably.”No blank sheets of paper.
Starting afresh is a hindrance to performance. In F1, the key to success is continuity. The R23 proved reliable and competitive, with the Renault F1 Team scoring points in 15 of the 16 races this season, and the R24 will be an evolution of this car.
“Today’s technology allows us to set very precise targets in terms of how much progress we want to achieve in a given area, and how to do that in sufficient time,” continues Mark. “The design office is hard at work. We have been running a model of next year’s car in the wind tunnel for some time, and the figures show we are on the right track.”