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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)|
|Arnaud de Ponnat (CEO)|
From 1983 Renault began to supply other teams with engines, Mecachrome was given the responsibility of preparing the engines for these customer teams (e.g. Lotus-Renault in 1983 and Ligier-Renault in 1984). In 1985 Renault withdrew from Formula One as a constructor and withdrew from engine supply for the 1987 season. In 1989 Renault returned to F1 as 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 the same year announced its withdrawal from Formula One after the 1997 season. In order to avoid protest by shareholders regarding 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.
In 2001 Renault returned to Formula One by purchasing the Benetton team and the Renault designed engines again carried the Renault name. The relationship remains 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 powered by Renault engines (badging only), and Mecachrome was tasked with their production. The FIA Formula 2 Championship power units 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 supply 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 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 Mechachrome 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 supply 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 supplier of GP3 Series for 2016-2018 seasons. 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, which was to compete in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship.  However, after withdrawing from the opening WEC round at Spa-Francorchamps and achieving a fifth-place result at Le Mans, Ginetta dropped Mecachrome in favour of AER engines. Mecachrome Motorsport responded to Ginetta's announcement soon afterwards, also revealing that it intended to continue its LMP1 engine programme.
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.
- "Mecachrome Motorsport Responds to Ginetta LMP1 Announcement". Mecachrome Motorsport. Retrieved 6 August 2018.