9 December 2013
Renault confident for F1 2014, but not 'underestimating' V6 challenge
Rob White: Success in the past is no guarantee of success in the future. But if we keep the same spirit and work ethic that have yielded results with the V8, it bodes well for next year and beyond...
Renault should do well next season with its new turbocharged V6 engine, providing it keeps the 'same spirit and work ethic that have yielded results with the V8', deputy managing director, Rob White has said.
The Brazilian Grand Prix last month brought the curtain down on the V8 era, with Renault ending it as it had started, with another win. It meant the French manufacturer was the most successful under the outgoing engine regulations, having taken 60 wins, 66 pole positions and 56 fastest laps, plus five Constructors' and five Drivers' championships.
“Winning in Brazil seemed a fitting end to the era [for us] – we've won a lot of races and learned a great deal,” White stated. “The challenge facing the Viry team for 2014 [though] cannot be underestimated. Success in the past is no guarantee of success in the future.
"But if we keep the same spirit and work ethic that have yielded results with the V8, it bodes well for next year and beyond,” he added.
Meanwhile, White said that he was 'proud' of the regie's V8 record - and a hit-rate of over 40 per cent of the wins of the eight year period.
“Getting to the end of an engine formula is a time for reflection and I am proud of what we've achieved. The birth of the V8 was an opportunity, but also an enormous challenge,” he continued. “We were fighting for the 2005 championship with the last V10 and ultimately succeeding brought a weight of expectation to bear.
"The team at Viry did a great job however to manage the development of two engines in parallel and to win with both.”
So what were his favourite victories and moments during the period from 2006-2013? “Among the wins that stand out for me is the first race of the V8 era, the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2006, won by [Fernando] Alonso," he noted. "It was a fantastic relief to know that our hard work and difficult choices had been on the right track. We had been up against it for the development of the V8, and we took some decisions that surprised our competitors and onlookers at the time – for example we were very late to test on track; everyone else was running an interim car on circuits while we were back at base dyno testing!
"Securing the title at the last race in 2006 was a very special feeling [too]. To show how intense it was, I do not actually remember the race in Brazil – I remember more the reaction at the factory and the celebrations with all the Renault team.
“Winning as both a team owner and an engine supplier is also a major achievement, to adapt to the very different requirements of both environments.
"In Abu Dhabi 2010 we pulled it off with Red Bull Racing when [Sebastian] Vettel won his first Drivers' championship. We had had some problems during the season, but remained focused and determined to support our partner to the end.
“The race was very tense and Sebastian's victory in the race and well-earned championship were a great relief,” he concluded.
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