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The Heretic

31 January:
Controversy Corner:
"2004 Ė Itís going to be crowded at the top!" - In his first issue for 2004, the Quali-flyer expects a close fight for the title in 2004 but does he predict the winner ?

30 January: Jordan Grand Prix have confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will drive for the team in 2004. Nick Heidfeld was one of the favourites to drive for the team and after talks broke down between Jos Verstappen and Jordan, Heidfeld's chances became stronger.
Team Principal Eddie Jordan said "I am carefully putting together a strong driver pairing to complement our 2004 package and sponsorship portfolio and signing Nick is the first part of that. I am optimistic that we have the tools to mount a reasonable contest against the midfield teams this year. Nick is a very quick driver with the talent and experience we need in order to grab every opportunity we can this season."
Nick Heidfeld said "I am very happy to sign a deal with Jordan Ford. It was a strange experience doing the tests, especially the last one in Barcelona, without being officially part of the team, because I really felt like I was already part of Jordan. Itís nice to work with all the people here and Iím looking forward to this season very much. It will be exciting to take the new EJ14 car out next week, after spending today at the factory to do my seat fitting and seeing the 2004 car coming together for the first time.
The last couple of weeks and months have been quite difficult for me so not only am I happy to be signing with Jordan, Iím also relieved.
This season is going to be interesting and Iím particularly looking forward to the new races in Bahrain and Shanghai. I think these races are good for Formula One, after all itís a World Championship so we should go all over the world. I always like going to new circuits and enjoy visiting countries where Iíve never been before - thatís always interesting."

29 January: The Mild Seven Renault F1 team launched their 2004 challenger today with the ambitious target of dislodging at least one of the 3 teams that finished ahead of Renault in 2003.
Chairman and CEO Patrick Faure doesn't expect to fight for the title this year but is confident of finishing inside the top 3.

Mild Seven Renault F1 - R24 - 2004 Formula 1 Season

He said "We must look to dislodge at least one of the teams above us in the championship. One can no longer just talk about the top three teams: last year, we became part of the Big Four. Renaultís targets for this year are, logically, placed higher, and in order to achieve them, absolute reliability will be critical. The correct steps were taken last year in order to ensure this, and we are confident we will attain this target from Melbourne onwards.
We have all the ingredients necessary to fight at the highest level. I donít think we will be fighting for the title in 2004, but I definitely think that we can finish the season in the top three."

Managing Director Flavio Briatore
said "I enter this new season feeling confident. Everything is in place, both at Enstone and at Viry-Ch‚tillon, for us to have a fast and reliable car. This new car shows clearly that Renault is a top team, not only through our results, but also in how we work. The design process, the production, the assembly and the first tests of the R24 have demonstrated our maturity. We are taking big steps forward, and hitting our targets. When I arrived at the team, my aim was to be able to compete for the title in 2005. We will be ready. As a team, I certainly donít think we have yet attained our maximum."

Technical Director (Chassis) Bob Bell said "The R24 was completed on time, on the day we had planned. Already, that is a performance that does credit to everybody who worked on this project.
From the outside, the car can be distinguished by a taller engine cover, and the rear wing, which is limited to two upper elements in order to meet the 2004 regulations. In theory, this configuration brings with it a loss of aerodynamic efficiency close to 6%. However, hard work in the windtunnel has allowed us to overcome this deficit: the R24 already has more downforce than the R23B.
Of course, the mechanical package includes the new 72į V10 engine. This architecture did not give us any particular problems. One must conceive of an F1 car as a whole, and what is lost in one area can be gained back elsewhere. Thus, the centre of gravity may be slightly higher than in 2003 but this difference is less than 10mm.
The engine/chassis integration is extremely good. Thanks to optimised communications between Enstone and Viry-Ch‚tillon, the overall package is very compact. This characteristic has allowed us to sculpt the bodywork exactly as we wanted to: the new Ďví angle permitted much narrower, tighter sidepods at the rear.
In terms of stiffness, we have made a step forward of approximately 10%, which is a real achievement with the new engine architecture. The R24 is also lighter than its predecessor.
The suspension employs some new materials, but has retained roughly the same geometry as last season. The fuel tank is smaller than in 2003, and the wheelbase has been modified.
Finally, the R24 has a 100% titanium 6-speed gearbox, as opposed to a hybrid titanium-carbon construction previously. This change came about to meet our stiffness and weight targets."

Technical Director (Engine) Rob White
said "I didnít work on the RS24, having only taken up my position a few weeks before the official launch of the new car. Having said that, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the work of the team at Viry-Ch‚tillon and I endorse 100% the choices that have been made.
The 2004 regulations impose absolute reliability, and logically, this is what the team has concentrated on. Every part of the engine has been reviewed, redesigned and tested.
Furthermore, we have used extremely aggressive approval processes on the dyno. Our aim was to combine all the most demanding operating conditions for the engine, and to guarantee the engine can cope with them.
However, thatís not to say we have neglected performance. We will begin the season with a reasonable level of power, and intend to make progress both in this area, and also in terms of the engineís weight. Major evolutions are currently under approval. Furthermore, the team has been working on the 2005 engine for several months."

Jarno Trulli said "I drove the R24 for two days at Barcelona, and had the privilege of completing its first run. I stood in the garage for a long time admiring the car. It is always a special moment, a fantastic emotion.
On the R24, the quality of the engineering is impeccable: I felt confident in the car from the first few hundred metres. The driving position is ideal and after two years at Renault, I really feel at home in their cars.
The aim was to check all the systems were working properly, and to see how well the car responded to set-up changes. The results on the track have already confirmed what the computers at the factory had predicted.
I generally prefer to wait a little before judging, but in spite of lots of little details that need to be sorted out, I am very optimistic for 2004."

Fernando Alonso
said "From the very first time I drove the R24, I could tell it had the same characteristics as the R23. The handling is not much different, which is good news. My reference points were similar, and it was relatively easy to adapt to the car.
After we had worked on the set-up and on the general balance, I was able to push a bit, and the car was immediately faster than the old one.
This kind of performance is what you normally get after four or five tests: we managed it in three days, and I think that gives some idea of our potential.
The new engine has more torque, and is also more powerful, but without the aggressive characteristics of the RS23 at high revs. This smoothness makes it easier on the corner exit.
In my mind, thereís no doubt: the R23 is already forgotten."

Click here for the 2004 Mild Seven Renault F1 Page
Click here for the 2004 Jarno Trulli Page
Click here for the 2004 Fernando Alonso Page

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