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Renault's engine man White looks ahead to Imola

NEWS STORY
18/04/2005

Three races into the 2005 season, can you explain how engine usage has changed in 2005?
Rob White, Engine Technical Director: Overall, the way we use the engines in 2005 is an evolution of how they were used in 2004 – but the life cycle is now twice as long. The chassis and engine engineers agree how much running will be done before each weekend, and in what conditions that will be done – usually in the week running up to the event. We then manage our programme according to these decisions, and new information that arrives during the weekend: for example, we may adjust our programmes to accommodate changing weather conditions. Finally, the use of the engine's «potential» – for example, the number of laps run at high revs – is managed with the aim of getting the best racing results over both events in which the engine is used.

Does this mean engine use has become more strategic?
RW: It is certainly more complicated now! The first point is that the increased engine life is technically difficult to achieve, but after that, we use the engine differently in practice, qualifying and the race. Only three years ago, we could use a different version of the engine in each session – a ‘qualifying special' for example, optimised for a much shorter life span, and then a race spec for Sunday. Now, we must make choices on how we use a single engine, and its performance, in each of the sessions across two weekends.

Have the first races given you an opportunity to assess the performance of the RS25 relative to its competitors?
RW: In isolation, we were pleased with the performance of the RS25 when it first ran on the dyno – despite very late rule changes, we hit all our performance targets before the season. However, the isolated performance of the engine is not what matters – we always take a car-wide view of performance, and look at the V10 as part of the whole. This prevents us from making direct comparisons of absolute engine performance relative to the competition. But we are certainly pleased with our engine's contribution to the performance of the R25 – and with the performance of the R25-RS25 package relative to its competitors.

Following the engine failure in Bahrain, Giancarlo may race with a ‘B' specification engine in Imola – can you update us on the status of this new engine?
RW: One of the purposes of the new regulations was to slow down the rate of performance development, and they have succeeded: it is now more difficult to approve new parts for introduction, and we only have a limited number of opportunities at which to introduce these parts. Our approach for 2005 will be to introduce performance developments in packages, and the ‘B' spec is the first in a series of planned evolutions, that was initially scheduled for introduction in Barcelona. Following Giancarlo's engine failure in Bahrain, we saw the opportunity to accelerate the build of a race engine to this spec to fit in his car. However, the final decision on its use will depend on dyno tests, and the detailed analysis of results from testing last week in Paul Ricard. It is important to stress that we will not be taking any short-cuts in the approval process in order to race RS25B at Imola instead of Barcelona.

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