|Mild Seven Renault F1 Team
After winning the 2005 World Championship, the team headed into the off-season in celebratory mood, and besides the marketing department getting on with making the most of the win, they had a quiet start to the winter break.
Early announcements that the team would not run their new V8 engine until the 2006 chassis was ready in January led to widespread speculation that the team were running behind schedule, and that they would not be ready for the new season. It led to repeated announcements that the team was on track, that they knew their approach was sound, and that an interim car was a misuse of resources that should be going in to the new challenger... an approach that more resembles a low-budget team than the reigning World Champions.
This, of course, is true, considering that Renault actually is a low-budget team - at least amongst their manufacturer-backed peers, if not in comparison to the recently departed Minardi and Jordan. The approach is oriented towards gaining maximum results from minimum spend: get the right people in the right places; make the right basic decisions on designing the car; ensure the development program is in place.
Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds spent half of December defending the old car: having taken a conservative approach by defending the team's early points, whilst it secured the championships, it left McLaren with more wins and a reputation for the faster - if not more successful - contender; leading to Symonds declaring that Fernando Alonso should take the opposite approach in 2006.