ThiÃ©ry Stoll describes the work of a little-known department, who work on components for F1 development engines. A factory like Viry-ChÃ¢tillon is, in reality, a life-size testing laboratory. It is where the next generation of Renault's F1 ...
Thiéry Stoll describes the work of a little-known department, who work on components for F1 development engines.
A factory like Viry-Châtillon is, in reality, a life-size testing laboratory. It is where the next generation of Renault's F1 engines are designed, assembled and tested. And it is also where they begin the search for performance and reliability.
In order to maintain confidentiality and improve the team's response times, the Renault F1 Team's engine department possesses its own machine shop. Spread over roughly 100m", it contains a group of around fifteen people who produce parts for development engines. "This is where Renault Sport was born," smiles department head Thiéry Stoll. "The Atelier Gordini was located right here."
Make no mistake about it: at Renault the team is proud of the diamond logo and its competition heritage. Many of the people working in the machine shop are 'old school' -- people who worked on the Turbo engines, the first V10's to emerge from the workshops... and who have now just won a double world championship with the RS25.
"There are only three people under 32 years old here," continues Thiéry. He joined the team in 2003, having previously worked in the aircraft armaments industry. "There is no school for F1," he explains. "And now, the sport has become so demanding that more and more people are recruited from different sectors at the cutting edge of technology."
Precision and rigour are the day to day fare of the machine shop. Every year, it produces hundreds of development components. "We machine small production runs of components, quickly, and then modify them according to feedback to ensure they deliver the performance and reliability we need," explains Thiéry.
"We work on the major parts of the engine, such as cylinder heads, sumps, engine blocks and components in the pumps. The pistons are also entirely designed at Viry." Beyond this work, the workshop constantly re-evaluates its own work, to ensure they are working with the best possible technologies and methods to achieve their results.
So, in a digital age where machines rule the world, can the technicians at Viry still make a significant contribution? "Absolutely," responds Thiéry. "The extremely fine tolerances mean we rely on numeric technology to produce certain components, but each one of those passes through the hands of a technician. It allows us to finish off production of the part, and inspect it."
Every one of the department's 15 members is a specialist. "Two people programme the machines for pistons and ducts, two work on the 4 axis machines, and others on 5 axis machines. We also operate lathes." Throughout the workshop, the atmosphere is defined by one thing: team spirit. "The people who work here all share the same passion," explains Thiéry Stoll.
"When one of us has to work late, for example, each of us will do what we can to make things easier, and to prepare his work as well as possible. We enjoy our jobs, sometimes maybe a bit too much -- a lot of sacrifices are made for Formula 1. But that's what it takes to win a world title."