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Renault announce new engine strategy 27 May 2003

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R23 
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Austrian Grand Prix, Race Day, A1-Ring, Austria, 18 May 2003

The Renault Formula One team have announced plans for the 2004 season that will see them abandon their current wide-angle V10 in favour of an engine with a 'traditional' architecture.

According to Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, the move is in response to the new 2004 regulations, which will require each engine to last for a full race weekend.

"Our objective is to design an engine that can respond to the demands of the new regulations, while at the same time maintaining our performance targets," said Briatore. "Basically, this will be a high-performance engine, reliable for practice and the race.

"In order to guarantee reliability it will have a 'traditional' architecture, but without any increase in weight. It will have a high level of performance because it will benefit significantly from the technological solutions that [the team's technical centre at] Viry-Chatillon has developed over the past three years."

The development of the new engine, to be known as the RS24, will be overseen by a new management line-up announced by Briatore in light of Jean-Jacques His' recent departure.

"The new structure is based on the current Technical Management of Viry, who are all extremely competent and motivated Renault staff," explained Briatore. "I have appointed Bernard Dudot as Deputy Managing Director. Project Manager Jean-Philippe Mercier will continue the development of the 2003 engine whereas Leon Taillieu is the Chief Designer of the 2004 engine."

Renault's current wide-angle V10 was designed to provide a low centre of gravity and hence improved handling. Whilst the team's strong results in 2003 suggest these objectives have been met, the engine itself is widely thought to lack the power of its key rivals.

"Whilst the centre of gravity height of the engine is an important factor, the integration of whole chassis, engine and gearbox package in order to achieve a balanced, stiff package combined with both low mass and low centre of gravity is of greater importance," added Briatore. "The new engine configuration for 2004 will not hinder us in this respect."

Renault plan to have the new engine up and running by the middle of January 2004.