Technical Development, with Allan McNish The Renault F1 Team test drver explained why standing still actually means going backwards in F1. The sport is a permanent challenge for the engineers every day of every week. Since the start of the ...
Technical Development, with Allan McNish
The Renault F1 Team test drver explained why standing still actually means going backwards in F1. The sport is a permanent challenge for the engineers every day of every week.
Since the start of the season, the Renault R23's of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso have started each race with, on average, fifteen new parts. The high-point of the development programme has been the new aerodynamic package introduced at Silverstone, which included almost 70 modified parts.
"When you are talking about working on a car, there are good distinct starting points: good and bad cars," explains Allan McNish. "The R23 is one of the former. And when a car is competitive from the first time it turns a wheel, it will always be quick."
That means the development programme begins long before the start of the season! "During the winter, there is a point at which the engineers decide to determine the car's configuration. Without that, they would still be trying to gain hundredths of a second in the wind tunnel right up until the first race!" jokes Allan.
"The team's strategy this year was a good one: the whole mechanical part of the R23 was ready to begin testing on November 26, 2002. Right up until the last minute, the aerodynamicists were working on the bodywork. This appeared in February but the design office carried on working... to the extent that we had a first evolution in Melbourne!"
Since then, the R23 has been evolving constantly. "The engine specifications from Viry were up to expectations; the aero improvements have performed as expected; and the result is that the car is getting more and more competitive," continues Allan. "At Silverstone, for example, we had the new aero package, but also electronic developments on the traction control and launch control, new parts on the engine..."
In F1, it is essential to always be pushing for more. "Resting on your laurels is the biggest mistake you can make," he says. "The competition never stands still. They are also looking to improve all the time, and gaining tenths of a second each week. Overall, if you don't make steps forward... you end up going backwards."
The psychological element shouldn't be ignored either. "The fact that you are getting quicker almost on a daily basis improves the morale of the whole team, and pushed them to do even better. It is absolutely vital," concludes Allan. "From the mechanics to the drivers, the will to give 100% can work miracles, because when a driver feels confident, that can be worth a few tenths of a second too..."