After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1987, Rob White joined Cosworth Racing and moved to the United States to work as an engine-development engineer. In 1997, he returned to Cosworth in England as chief engineer on the Formula 1 project. He joined the Renault team in 2004. When Renault sold the team in 2010 -- it is now called Lotus -- he continued in the same job with Renault Sport.
On how Renault Sport has adapted to supplying several teams with engines after ceasing to be a team itself:It is a fundamental change, but it is a change that has not happened overnight. We've participated in a change of model in which Renault has conducted its affairs in order to remain in F1, which is a very important thing at Renault. But of course there are some important conditions necessary in order that we can stay here. We need to be able to be competitive in order to be in a position to win races and the championship. The economic performance needs to be reasonable; the cost needs to be accessible to the parent company.
The other requirement is that we need to be a part of a Formula 1 that is moving forward into a different place. In particular, in the new power-unit regulations that we think are important for F1 to be more relevant to our customers, present and future.
On the role of the gas-guzzling, powerful monster of a racing engine has in our energy-saving world:I'd like to cut you a little bit short on the phrase ''gas guzzling monster,'' because the current normally aspirated F1 engines are nevertheless remarkably fuel-efficient, considering their specific power output. They are extremely powerful engines, but in absolute terms their fuel consumption is excellent. It is not the most important factor, but it is a significant performance factor, in the current generation of Formula 1cars. However, we are going to move to a whole different place with the 2014 power unit.
First of all, there will be a quantity of fuel allocated for each race. A hundred kilos maximum - which corresponds to around 155 kilos in today's world. We have no regulatory limit today, but we use around 155 to 165 kilos of fuel in each of the cars for a race. So that is a fundamental thing that will drive us toward efficiency. The race will still be about the fastest car; the race will be won by the guy who goes fastest with the same quantity of fuel. That's intellectually very similar to our road-car colleagues who have to do a given mission with the minimum quantity of fuel.
The second regulatory limit is a limit on the fuel flow rate, which is equal to the chemical power in the fuel. As there will be a limit on the maximum rate on which we will be able to consume fuel, there will be a theoretical limit on the maximum power we can achieve. In order to get as close as we can to that theoretical limit, we must improve the efficiency of the power unit. These are two very fundamental drivers that mean that we will get the best possible fuel consumption out of the power units in 2014.