The latest update from Enstone and Viry: including Key Moments from 2005, the Fabrication Department, a determined Fisico and a progress report on 2006…
Key Moments in 2005
2005 was the longest ever season in Formula 1 history. Throughout the 19 races and seven months, it featured twists and turns, highs and lows, fortune and misfortune. Great drives, exceptional team performances, and some moving human stories within the wings of the Renault F1 Team. Every week between now and Christmas, the Renault F1 Team will be bringing you a key moment in how 2005 unfolded: good performances, bad performances, and some insight into an historic season for Renault’s racing team. This week, the spotlight falls on Melbourne: a weekend full of unknown factors and new regulations, a faultless drive from Fisico and a characteristically aggressive performance from Fernando.
Behind the Scenes: The Fabrication Department, Enstone
Once upon a time, a Grand Prix car was a hand-made work of art. Craftsmen beat metal panels, shaping them into paper-thin, wind-cheating forms that clothed space-frame chassis, bearing names like Gordini, Vanwall or Maserati. To the outside world, today’s Formula 1 has lost that soul: everything is dominated by gadgets, gizmos and computer-controlled machines… Or nearly everything. In Enstone’s Fabrication Department, hand-made is still the only way. Flat sheets and tubes of metal are worked to form some of the most complex parts on the F1 car: exhausts, radiators and myriad other components.
Fisico looks ahead to 2006
To the outside world, Giancarlo Fisichella’s season might seem something of a paradox. Driving a world championship winning car, he finished fifth in the championship; driving for a team with an exceptional reliability record, he endured nearly all of the mechanical failures. He had been known as one of Formula One’s most under-rated drivers at the start of the year; by the end of the season the limits of his talent had been found… or so the story went. Within the team, the reality was somewhat different: at Enstone and Viry, the personnel recognised an integral member of a world championship winning team; a true team player ready to put the team’s priorities ahead of his own; and a driver with genuine resolve and mental strength.
Fisico has called 2005 “the best season of my career”, something the stats bear out as he took his best championship finish, and came very close to third position in the drivers’ championship. This week, the Italian showed that he is approaching 2006 with his ambitions undiminished. “I think I am a better driver now than I was a year ago. I am in a team that is 100% behind me, and we support each other in difficult moments. With this year’s car, some elements of it were not adapted perfectly to my driving style. But I have worked with the engineers to change some of my characteristics, and they also know how we need to work to adjust next year’s car to better suit me.” So the rivalry with his world champion team-mate is alive and strong? “Fernando and I are very similar. We work together, we help each other, we laugh and joke. There is a good relationship, we are friends,” concludes the Italian. “But I know that in some races this year, I beat Fernando. Next year, we start again from zero, and I think that with an even better environment in the team, I can do it more often.”
Talking Technical: Catching up with the Bob and Rob show
Winter-time is when Formula 1 battens down the hatches. The ‘No Entry’ sign is hung on the factory gates, as the teams busy themselves with preparing for the coming year. The situation is no different at Enstone and Viry, so we asked the team’s two Technical Directors, Bob Bell and Rob White, to bring us an update on progress at the respective sites, discussing interim cars, track testing, dyno testing, tyre testing and much more. The first part comes today with Engine Technical Director Rob White, who discusses progress with the 2006 V8 engine. “We have planned the project in a pragmatic, prudent way,” explains the engine boss. “We are not under-estimating our rivals’ performance, nor over-estimating our own. At the moment, the focus is on hitting our performance and reliability milestones. The project is on time, with the aim of being perfectly prepared when we arrive in Bahrain in March.” Read more from Rob White by clicking the link that follows, and tune in for Bob Bell on Wednesday.
Renault F1 Team