Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul is confident that a restructuring of the organisation will pay dividends in 2015.
After a difficult debut with the V6 turbo – which nevertheless saw three victories for Daniel Ricciardo – Renault will supply only Red Bull and Toro Rosso this year, unless Caterham is able to survive in some form.
“F1 constantly moves forward at a very fast rate,” said Abiteboul. “The sport evolves, technology evolves and the competition never sleeps so Viry needs to evolve at the same rate. Viry needed a refresh. We did not suffer from a lack of resources or finances in 2014, it was simply that the resources were not joined up in time or used to their optimum.
“In the short gap between seasons we have therefore taken a number of steps forward. First and foremost we have implemented a new organisational structure. There are a number of changes in this new structure. I’ll underline three of them to indicate where the focus will be in 2015.
“This new structure will emphasise the need for perpetual change and adaptation within Renault Sport F1. This will be achieved through two new streams led by Rob White and Jean-Paul Gousset. As Chief Technical Officer, Rob will use his in-depth knowledge of Renault Sport F1 to set the strategy and road map for the acquisition, development and utilisation of technical skills within the company. Naturally this will always be with a close eye on our F1 project.
“In parallel, F1 performance is driven by human performance. Jean-Paul, who was previously head of production, is now appointed as Organization Performance Officer, and becomes responsible for organisational matters, procedures and protocols, from the small details to the large changes that together create and harness the racing spirit we want to see in Viry-Châtillon.
“Another substantial change is the creation of the Development Department, headed by Naoki Tokunaga. In addition to overseeing the Engineering Department, which is still managed by Jean-Philippe Mercier, Naoki will be directly responsible for Performance and Reliability Groups. These two groups are tasked with clear responsibilities as their name suggests, and allow us to get closer to the organisational model of F1 teams nowadays. This should build natural bridges and synergies with our customers.
“The last noticeable change is that Rémi Taffin will now oversee all track and factory operations, including assembly and dynos, in addition to continuing to look after the track operations. Regrouping all operations under one person aims to bring the excellent spirit of the track to the factory, simplifies our lines of communications, allows us to simplifies our lines of communications, allowing us to respond to changes or needs more quickly and ensure overall quality control and cost efficiency towards our internal and external customers.
“It is still very early to see the direct effects but all the changes are made for long term gain. We should start to see the full impact in development by the mid-season with greater flexibility, dynamism and efficiency across all our operations.”
Abiteboul remains confident that Renault can do better than the three victories achieved with Red Bull last season.
“We knew what we had to do over the winter and we know what we have achieved. We believe we have made a very big step in performance and will be more reliable. We do not know where the others will be: we may not have erased all the gaps, but we are confident that we have gone a long way to making up the deficit of last season.
“Our objective is to close the gap as much as possible and give Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso a more competitive car on most circuits, independently of their characteristics and sensitivities.”