Renaults Architect Steps Aside

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Effective a few days before the start of the 2002 season, Renault F-1 will be without the man largely referred to as its “architect.”

Jean-Jacques was appointed managing director of Renault F-1 France this week, taking over for Christian Contzen. Contzen will remain managing director at Renault until March 1.

According to a Renault team release, Contzen decided to voluntarily “step aside from his long-term commitment and let a new team take up Renault's ambitious challenge of winning again in Formula 1, this time with a full works team.”

Renault came back into F-1 in 2001, supplying engines to the Benetton team and then taking over the team, renaming it Renault Sport for the 2002 season. Benetton scored just seven points in 2001 and finished seventh in the constructor’s standings.

Patrick Faure, executive vice president of Renault and chairman and chief executive officer of Renault F-1, asked Contzen to stay on at his side to take up new duties, which will be specified at a later date. Flavio Briatore will continue to be team principal of Renault Sport.

“Christian Contzen is the architect of Renault's success in Formula 1,” Faure told employees of the Renault F-1 plant in Viry-Châtillon at a meeting Tuesday. “He largely contributed to the 11 World Championship titles for drivers and constructors won during the 1992-1997 period. And even more so, he succeeded in keeping the team's potential intact during the technology watch period prior to Renault's return to F-1.”

He was previously technical director of Renault F-1 France and was “the brains behind Renault's V10 engine, which dominated the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuits between 1992 and 1997.”

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