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Renault's plan to stay ahead of McLaren - Rob White on the RS25 V10… 16 Aug 2005

Rob White (GBR) Renault Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 18 June 2004

Renault’s RS25 engine may not have always been the quickest V10 on the grid this year, but it has been among the most reliable, despite a couple of glitches at the last round. But will it be enough to hold off the McLaren challenge in the remainder of the season? Engine technical director Rob White spoke to the team’s press office about their preparations for an exciting end to the season and about the challenge ahead in Turkey…

Q: The Renault drivers had some difficulties with their engines in Budapest. What were they?
Rob White:
Giancarlo (Fisichella) had a small problem in the fuel cell that caused fuel pressure drops and an engine misfire towards the end of each run. The problem has been diagnosed and fixed for the next race. We do not anticipate any after effects in Turkey. As for Fernando (Alonso), his problems came from the collision with Ralf Schumacher at the start of the race: the bodywork damage on the right side of the car was impairing oil cooling. Countermeasures were taken to get to the end of the race, and the engine is in good shape for Turkey. The accident damage was an unwelcome additional constraint to the normal procedures of managing the temperatures during the race, but we maintained the engine in good condition.

Q: Will the coming race be demanding for the engines?
RW:
Of course there is the frisson of uncertainty concerning the new circuit, but we are well prepared. There are no easy circuits for engines - all the circuits have their particularities. We hope to have correctly anticipated the particularities of the Turkey track and will seek to refine our preparations for the race during running in practice.

Q: What will be the keys to winning the battle with McLaren?
RW:
Since the start of the season, this team has had the objective to be amongst the title contenders at the end of the year. Over 13 races we have been better than our competitors, but that's not enough. We are taking nothing for granted because it is only the final result, after 19 races, which counts! Our aim will be to maximize the potential of our package, but we have considerable respect for our rivals and know they will try and spoil our plan! The conclusion to both championships will play out over six races, and for both teams, the key goal will be to get both cars to the chequered flag - aiming for the podium each time.

Q: Renault seems to have privileged a philosophy of reliability over pure performance - is that an accurate impression?
RW:
We believe zero defect reliability is the only reasonable goal for a championship campaign in Formula One. Therefore we devote substantial efforts to assuring the reliability of the car and engine for both drivers and we seek to respond to every incident that is identified. Despite all this, the fundamental requirement to evolve the specification to improve the performance and the practical constraints of resource and time mean we are never 100% comfortable with reliability. In reality, there are difficult decisions to be taken in the factory and at the track in order to strike the correct balance. One of this team's strengths is its capacity to identify the difficult decisions and to choose the best solution.

Q: Are there still developments to come on the RS25?
RW:
The RS25 will be developed to the end of the season. We will continue the development path that has served well up to now. Subject to successful validation on the test bed at Viry and in track testing, we will introduce changes that improve base engine performance and that adapt the engine to the circuits on which we race at the end of the season. Each race engine supplied to the track is built to the best performance specification that has been validated as reliable - we aim to develop the performance without increasing the risk of a failure.