B whether Bell is no stranger to the Renault base camp Enstone. In the golden years of 2005 and 2006, the 57-year-old Northern Irishman was chief technology officer of the team that won 2 drivers and 2 brands titles with Fernando Alonso. Now Bell is again playing the firefighter for Renault in Enstone. In between he stopped off at Mercedes and Marussia.
Bob Bell is the central point of contact for engine manager Remi Taffin and chassis director Nick Chester. He is coordinating the comeback of the French car manufacturer as a works team in Formula 1. And has a similar task to master as in 2011 when he took over the management of the technical department at Mercedes.
Renault technical director Bob Bell sees parallels Mercedes
Bell recognizes parallels and differences: 'At Mercedes, the task was similar to now. We had to get this thing to win races. The good thing about Enstone is: the core of the people who are still there , knows how to build good racing cars. But we are living in a different era than in 2005. It is now important to lay the groundwork for long-term success. Don't look to the next race, but a year and a half ahead. '
At Renault, he has more powers to do this. 'I have more influence on engine development here without being an engine engineer. But both have to be networked with one another. I have to make sure that both departments are marching in the same direction and that resources are correctly distributed between the two departments.'
The master maker of yore believed that a works team always has an advantage over customer teams in the end: 'It's probably a matter of a few tenths. But that's what counts. It makes you work more efficiently more easily when everything is under one roof. '
Not erasing all compromises
Renault will be eating tough bread in the first year have to. Bell is also aware of this: 'We have to make great strides. But at least we now know where our deficits lie. And in which areas we need to develop. And we take the necessary time for this. Engine development does not happen overnight. It always is a fine line between performance and reliability. It's easier with the chassis. If you're designing a new front wing, it's unlikely to cause you to fail. The riskis manageable. A new piston is another dimension. '
In the 2016 season, Renault has to cope with the handicap of having a car that was designed for a Mercedes engine but built for a Renault engine. 'The engine change came very late and Enstone had left development on the back burner for a significant period for financial reasons. We will have to live with these compromises in the first year. It's almost impossible to erase them all by 2016. A podium this year is only possible if the circumstances go crazy. '
The plan for Bell is obvious:' For us, 2016 means learning with a reliable car and making progress over the course of the season demonstrate. World Cup points are secondary. Renault has chosen Formula 1 for the long term. We cannot jeopardize this plan by bringing short-term solutions to the car for the sake of quick success. We will proceed carefully and ensure that each upgrade brings the time savings that the data promises. It is not so important what you visibly change in the car, but rather developing concepts and working methods that create a basis for long-term success. '