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Mecachrome SAS is a precision engineering company involved in aviation, the automotive industry, motor racing and industrial engineering, but is most famous for assembling the engines designed by Renault for the Renault Formula One team.
|Industry||Conglomerate (mainly motorsports, aerospace, spatial, defense, energy & industry and R&D)|
|Christian Cornille (CEO)|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||1998 Australian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1998 Japanese Grand Prix|
Since 1979 until present, Mecachrome has been involved with Renault Sport, the motorsport division of Renault (though today its F1 operations are conducted through Renault Sport F1, a separate group company).
From 1983, Renault began to supply other teams with engines; Mecachrome being given the responsibility of preparing and assembling the engines for these customer teams such as Lotus-Renault in 1983 and Ligier-Renault in 1984. In 1985, Renault withdrew from Formula One as a constructor and from engine supply for the 1987 season. In 1989, Renault returned to F1 as an engine supplier to WilliamsF1 (and Ligier from 1992) with Mecachrome again responsible for preparing the engines for the team.
Renault engines powered Williams and Benetton to six consecutive Constructors' World Championships between 1992 and 1997 and five Drivers' titles with Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Michael Schumacher (1995), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997).
In 1995, Benetton acquired Ligier's stock of Renault V10 engines. In 1996, Renault was privatised and announced its withdrawal from Formula One after the 1997 season. In order to avoid protests by shareholders regarding the costs of engine development, Mecachrome agreed to pay Renault for the development work in order to continue the relationship. The 1998 engines supplied to Williams carried the Mecachrome name while Benetton's engines were badged as Playlife.
In 1998, Flavio Briatore's company, Super Performance Competition Engineering, signed a distribution agreement with Mecachrome to begin in the 1999 season. The engines were purchased and rebadged as Supertec. Supertecs powered Williams in 1999, BAR in 1999 and Arrows in 2000. Supertec also continued to power Benetton under the Playlife brand.
In 2001, Renault returned to Formula One by purchasing the Benetton team with the Renault-designed engines carrying again the Renault name. The relationship remained unchanged with Renault responsible for design and Mecachrome assembly; this relationship helped Renault win a constructors' and driver's F1 championship "double-double" in 2005-2006 with Fernando Alonso.
Mecachrome-assembled Renault engines powered the Red Bull Racing Formula One team to the Constructors' Championship and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel to the World Drivers' Championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
GP2 Series/FIA Formula 2 ChampionshipEdit
In 2005, the GP2 Series (now FIA Formula 2 Championship) was launched as the official feeder category to Formula One. As the brainchild of Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, the new series was to be eternally powered by Renault engines (badging only), and Mecachrome was tasked with their production. The Mecachrome FIA Formula 2 Championship engines were manufactured at the same base as the Renault F1 units in Aubigny, France with direction from Mader in Switzerland.
Despite teething troubles which saw the power units and gearboxes reach what many observers claimed to be an unacceptably high level of unreliability, Mecachrome has been an integral and vital part of the success of the GP2 Series, providing the power which has displayed the emerging talents of F1 drivers Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock.
The company will continue to provide engines and gearboxes for the GP2 Series in its second generation (2008-2010) whilst also supplying the new-for-2008 GP2 Asia Series with slightly detuned versions of the power unit which has been at the core of the GP2 Series since 2005.
The Mecachrome V8 GP2/F2 engines were jointly developed by Mecachrome and TEOS Engineering for design, tune-up, R&D, engine maintenance, arrangement and trackside support. The GP2 Series/FIA Formula 2 Championship V8 engine formula specification was in use from 2005 and was retired following the 2017 season.
New engine regulations with 620 hp 3,400 cc V6 single-turbocharged direct-injected engines known as the Mecachrome V634 Turbo, which is a development of the naturally aspirated Mecachrome V634 used in the GP3 Series, were introduced for 2018 along with a new Dallara F2 2018 chassis while TEOS Engineering renewed its subcontract relationship with Mecachrome on track in FIA Formula 2 Championship for 2018 beyond. Dutch turbocharger company Van Der Lee Turbo Systems supplies the turbochargers for all FIA Formula 2 Championship engines.
GP3 Series/FIA Formula 3 ChampionshipEdit
In 2015 alongside the Dallara GP3/16 car launch, Mecachrome was selected as the official engine partner of GP3 Series since 2016 season onwards. The Mecachrome V634 GP3/F3 engines are also jointly developed by Mecachrome and TEOS Engineering for design, tune-up, R&D, engine maintenance, arrangement, shared-production and trackside support. Despite the new Dallara F3 2019 car unveil, the current Mecachrome V634 which will be used by all FIA Formula 3 competitors will extend its service until at least 2021 season.
2008 bond refinancingEdit
In late 2008, the company sought legal protection from creditors in Canada after they defaulted on their publicly held bond. The company subsequently announced $30M worth of refinancing to cover operating costs during restructuring of the company.
World Endurance ChampionshipEdit
In 2017, Mecachrome partnered with Ginetta as an engine supplier for the G60-LT-P1 LMP1 Prototype, supplying the V634P1, a variant of the V634 F2 engine, which would also be turbocharged by Van Der Lee Turbo Systems. The Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER, run by CEFC TRSM, was to compete in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans and the full 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship. However, after withdrawing from the opening WEC round at Spa-Francorchamps and achieving a fifth in class result at Le Mans, which was in reality a 41st position result in the overall standings, Ginetta dropped the Mecachrome V634P1 in favour of the AER P60B engines. This was done due to a performance deficit from the Turbo V6 engine, and the lack of response to calls for a development programme from Mecachrome Motorsport, with the stated aim being to unlock the true performance of the chassis. Mecachrome Motorsport responded to Ginetta's announcement soon afterwards, also revealing that it intended to continue its LMP1 engine programme, although it has yet to find any customers to run the engine in any chassis since. Ginetta technical director Ewan Baldry later responded to Mecachrome's claims, acknowledging that while the engine utilised at Le Mans was a first specification engine, the engine was underpowered, and did not meet the contractually agreed performance targets.
"“Of course, TRSM and Ginetta were understanding of the fact that there would be a development phase with the engine. Performance specifications were provided by Mecachrome as part of the contract that was made between Ginetta and Mecachrome. Part of the issue here is that the engines as supplied did not meet even the conservative parameters that were agreed.""— Ewan Baldry, Ginetta Technical Director, Dailysportscar Interview
Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1998||Winfield Williams||Williams FW20||Mecachrome GC37-01 3.0 V10||G||AUS||BRA||ARG||SMR||ESP||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||AUT||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||LUX||JPN||38||3rd|
|Mild Seven Benetton||Benetton B198||Playlife (Mecachrome) GC37-01 3.0 V10||B||Giancarlo Fisichella||Ret||6||7||Ret||Ret||2||2||9||5||Ret||7||8||Ret||8||6||8||33||5th|
- "Mecachrome Motorpsort FIA Formula 2". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "GP2 Series aiming for V6 switch, but not wider tyres for 2018 car". motorsport.com. Motorsport.com. 16 December 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
- Craig Scarborough [@ScarbsTech] (10 November 2016). "The forthcoming @GP2_Official @GroupMecachrome turbo v6 engine" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Van Der Lee Turbo Systems Motorsport". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "New GP3/16 revealed in Monza - GP3 Series". gp3series.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- "Mecachrome gets 30 million euro financing to carry it through restructuring". Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Mecachrome is facing considerable turbulence". Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Mecachrome Confirmed as Ginetta LMP1 Engine Supplier - Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "Ginetta To Test With AER Engine As TRSM Set To Withdraw From Silverstone – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
- "Mecachrome Motorsport Responds to Ginetta LMP1 Announcement". Mecachrome Motorsport. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
- "Mecachrome Respond To Silverstone TRSM Withdrawal (Plus Ginetta Response)". Retrieved 12 December 2019.