Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne explains his ambitions for the new R23 in 2003 Q:Mike, would it be fair to say that the new car is the first 100% Gascoyne Renault? It would certainly be a bit pretentious! It's more accurate to say...
Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne explains his ambitions for the new R23 in 2003
Q:Mike, would it be fair to say that the new car is the first 100% Gascoyne Renault?
It would certainly be a bit pretentious! It's more accurate to say that this is the first Renault born of our twin-shift organisation, which has given us twelve months to design the car. Consequently, that means I haven't been as heavily involved in any other project since I arrived at the team in 2001.
Q:What was your starting point for the R23?
In F1, one of the real secrets to performance lies in continuity: starting from scratch every year is the best way to never win anything. The R202 gave us a good base to work from, and we retained its strengths: a good aero package which gave it very good efficiency in the quick corners, very sophisticated electronics, and excellent high-speed change of direction. After that, we looked to fill in the gaps, and have gone even further in some areas.
The engine-chassis integration is very different to what it was twelve months ago. Equally, we have high hopes for our titanium-carbon gearbox.
Q:How competitive will the R23 be on track?
It's hard to say without having fully understood the car yet and properly evaluated its potential. On paper, it's much more competitive than the R202. For example, its aero efficiency should improve by about 15%. In F1 terms, that's a significant step.
Q:What are your ambitions for the new car?
I will be disappointed if we don't score several podium finishes. That would mean I hadn't done my job properly. The design of the R23 was obviously guided by performance targets, but also reliability. In 2002, we realised that when we finished races, we almost always did so in the points. The first priority was to make the car quicker, more responsive to set-up changes and easier to drive. But we also had to make sure that the car was going to cross the finish line. Our aim is to finish 80% of the races this season, and score points every time.
Q:Does that mean you are thinking about third place in the Constructors Championship?
With the new points system, I think that if we score six points a race, we can hope to achieve that kind of result. To my mind, its not beyond our reach.