Renault set to announce engine strategy

Renault Sport will announce a new engine strategy for its 2004 Formula 1 programme today (Tuesday) after managing director Flavio Briatore completes a round of high level meetings with senior figures within the French company this morning

Renault set to announce engine strategy

Despite currently lying third in the 2003 constructors' championship, the team's radical 110-degree V10 engine has not fulfilled expectations. The French team's current successes are being put down to a sound chassis and aerodynamics package, as opposed to horsepower.

Exact figures are hard to come by but it is generally accepted that the unit is down on power, in comparison with Formula 1's front running teams, by as much as 60bhp. Unfortunately reliability, which has been a strongpoint of the RS23, faltered in Austria when Fernando Alonso suffered a failure and retired for the first time this season.

Just to complicate matters, new cost-cutting measures for 2004 mean that engines will have to last an entire race weekend and that engine makers might well be obliged to supply engines to more than one team. All this amounts to a refocusing on the need for added simplicity and reliability.

The problem is that Renault insiders have admitted a tendency towards over complexity in the design of this year's engine. Renault's engine designer Jean-Jacques His leaves the company at the end of this week and is clearly not happy with the outlook: "I don't share the way my colleagues saw the future for Renault, especially Flavio Briatore," he said.

"You can only do this job if you have command of your own choices. I didn't think we were proceeding in the right way and I prefer to leave with my own convictions."

It is now thought that the 110-degree powerplant might be dropped for something simpler and less ambitious. Briatore's announcement is expected this afternoon.

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