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Renault engines provide step in performance - Williams

ESPNF1 Staff
February 28, 2012 « Ferrari and Red Bull revert to original test dates | Heidfeld and Sutil eye F1 returns »
The new Williams FW34, powered by Renault © Sutton Images
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Williams new engine deal with Renault has given the team a decent step in performance this season, according to chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.

After two below-par years with Cosworth engines, the team signed a new deal with Renault towards the end of 2011 which means this year's FW34 is the first Williams since the championship-winning FW19 to be powered by the French manufcaturer.

"The engine is just a lot more flexible," Gillan said at last week's Barcelona test. "It's definitely a decent step. Working with Renault is very good; they are a very professional outfit. Both of us are still learning each other's processes, but things are going well. Very, very pleased."

One of the weak points on last year's car was its performance in slow-speed corners. Gillan said a reconfigured rear end and the new Renault engine had helped solve that problem.

"A lot of it is down to a better, more stable aerodynamic platform, because although they're slow [corners] aerodynamics are still important. Indeed, it's probably even more important in the slow speed because that's where the lap time is to be had. That plus the tractability and flexibility of the engine through its range helps as well, it's a mixture of the two."

And he revealed that this year's car is a completely different beast under the skin.

"It looks similar, but if you were to see the car without its bodywork it is significantly different to last year's," Gillan added. "We have gone through every area to see where we are losing performance. So we had a reasonably bad cooling performance and when it got hot we lost quite a lot of performance. We've spent a lot of time dealing with that and improving the bodywork."