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Rob White on Renault's revised V10 21 Apr 2004

Renault R24.

The Renault R24 is already a highly regarded machine in the Formula One paddock. Many believe it to combine one of the best aerodynamic packages with a well-balanced chassis that is unusually kind on tyres. The ingredient thought to be missing is horsepower, but all that could change at Imola this weekend, with the introduction of a new B-spec RS24 V10 engine.

The French team started the 2004 season with an all-new engine, having abandoned their radical wide-angle V10. The RS24 has undergone minor revisions during the first three races of the year, but for Imola Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli will have a heavily revised B-spec version at their disposal, featuring new cylinder heads, inlet system and related changes to the bottom part of the engine.

“Our objective for the new specification was increased performance while maintaining the reliability of the A spec,” explained Renault’s Engine Technical Director, Rob White. “We have improved peak power, the shape of the power curve and driveability.

“The performance of the unit has been very pleasing, and it is worth several tenths per lap relative to the previous specification, confirming our measurements on the dyno. Everybody at Viry has worked extremely hard to achieve these gains, and it is rewarding to see the engine has responded so favourably.”

Although the San Marino Grand Prix circuit is not the one of the toughest tracks of the season on engines, it does pose certain specific challenges. In particular, the way drivers must heavily ride the kerbs to achieve a fast lap time places unusual demands on the engine.

“The introduction of the new engine is a particular challenge, and we have implemented extremely rigorous approval processes for the entire engine in its new configuration,” added White. “On track, Imola rewards engine power and driveability, so the engine engineers will work hard with the drivers to optimise operating conditions and the calibration of control systems for the circuit.”

Renault scored three points at Imola last year thanks to a sixth place from Alonso. This season, with three rounds complete, they lie second in the constructors’ championship on 22 points, three ahead of Williams and BAR, and 29 behind leaders Ferrari.