Renault has ousted its aerodynamics boss after the ambitions of the French team were not realised during the season in which they made little impact on Ferrari and Mercedes and were reeled in by Honda.
The Enstone based team intended to close the gap to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in 2019, but instead has actually fallen behind McLaren.
Renault is happy with the step it has taken with its engine this year, but Cyril Abiteboul admitted in Austin that the aerodynamics department needs improving.
“We need also to look for a bit stronger technical leadership and making the team stronger in that area where we were a bit lean,” he said.
“Our aero department is a big department with very nice facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, so they need to know to deliver more.”
Aerodynamics boss Peter Machin has therefore left Renault “with immediate effect”.
He will be replaced by Dirk de Beer, who formerly worked at Enstone before switching to Ferrari and most recently Williams.
Renault also said a deputy aerodynamics boss “from another team” will start work at some time next year.
Official Renault Press Release
Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce a restructuring of its aerodynamics department ahead of the 2020 season as it continues to strengthen its organisation for the challenge and opportunity offered by the 2021 regulations.
Peter Machin, Head of Aerodynamics, is leaving the Team by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.
Dirk de Beer takes over as Head of Aerodynamics. Dirk brings extensive experience of managing Aerodynamics Departments and a successful track record, including at Enstone.
He will be supported by a Deputy Head of Aerodynamics who will join in the course of next year from another team. Vince Todd takes on this role on an interim basis until his arrival.
James Rodgers, currently Principal Aerodynamicist in charge of future car projects, is promoted to a new position of Chief Aerodynamicist, responsible for Aerodynamic performance development.
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, commented: “In 2019 we have shown some strengths, but identified areas that needed reinforcement.
“After a rapid growth of our aerodynamic department and a modernisation of our equipment, the strengthening of the management layer of this key department will help us reap the benefits of our investments.
“This is particularly relevant as we enter a very important year in our midterm plan with the 2021 aerodynamic regulations now confirmed.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Dirk as Head of Aerodynamics. His proven technical and management skills make him the perfect profile to lead such a large and complex department.
“James has demonstrated a strong ability to generate performance and this new role will enable him to steer the aerodynamic development of all our car projects.
“These changes are the next step in the restructuring of Renault F1 Team’s Chassis operation in Enstone and I am confident that they will allow us to resume our progress towards the front of the grid.”