Renault F1 team appoints White as operations director

The Renault Formula 1 team has appointed Rob White to the role of operations director and regained Ciaron Pilbeam from McLaren as chief race engineer

Renault F1 team appoints White as operations director

White moves to Enstone from Renault's engine operation at Viry, where he has held deputy managing director and technical director (engine) roles.

Why Renault won't fight for podiums in 2017

Pilbeam spent a year with the team, when it ran under the Lotus banner, before joining McLaren in February 2014.

He has also spent time at Red Bull, where we was race engineer for Christian Klien, Robert Doornbos and Mark Webber, and BAR where he worked with Jacques Villeneuve and Takuma Sato.

There is significant building work being carried out currently at Enstone, while managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the workforce has already increased by 20% since it made Lotus its works outfit 12 months ago.

"Expansion is not the work of a moment so we've been recruiting people through the year and they have been joining us throughout the season," said Abiteboul.

"It's definitely a case of targeting a quality workforce to come join us, but we do require a significant quantity of personnel in Enstone as we grow at a level allowing us to fight against the top teams.

"As part of this I'm happy to confirm that we have two appointments to Enstone's senior management with Rob White (pictured) transferring from Viry-Chatillon as operations director and Ciaron Pilbeam returning to us as chief race engineer.

"In terms of facilities, we are significantly increasing our on-site CNC machining capacity with two new machines in a dedicated building, a new spray and preparation facility is currently being built and we will shortly start extending our main factory building by approximately 800m2 to house the expansion of almost every department at Enstone."

There have also been tweaks at Viry to cope with Renault moving from an engine supplier to a full works team.

"At Viry-Chatillon we've been working on the structure with a process of further evolution to the changes started in the recent past," said Abiteboul.

"This has meant adapting the structure to change from a power unit supplier to part of a full manufacturer entry in addition to continuing as a supplier to other parties, as well as targeted headcount expansion for better control of our skills and talents."

Renault's return to F1 proved challenging, especially given the lateness of the deal being finalised, with the team finishing ninth in the constructors' championship.

But Abiteboul insisted the organisation was aware of this, which is why it focused on using the year to build for the future.

"2016 was always about laying the foundations for the future as we are committed to Formula 1 for the long haul," he said.

"Our 2016 car, the R.S.16, was conceived in an unbelievably short timeframe - literally a couple of weeks - so our focus for this year has been on expansion of headcount and infrastructure and looking to next year and beyond."

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