As part of the restructuring of its UK technical department, Renault has announced that chassis technical director, Nick Chester will leave the team and has begun a period of garden leave.
The move follows a season in which the French outfit lost fourth in the team standings to McLaren, to whom it supplies engines, and was under intense pressure from Toro Rosso in the final stages of the season to retain fifth.
As the team continued to lose ground to the big three, last month it was revealed that former Williams aerodynamicist, Dirk de Beer is returning to the Enstone-based outfit, while Pat Fry is also joining the team.
Chester first entered F1 in 1991 with Simtek in 1994, subsequently joining Arrows before moving to Benetton in 2000.
A former performance engineer at Arrows, where he worked with Damon Hill, he joined Benetton as test engineer. As performance engineer for Giancarlo Fisichella and then Jarno Trulli, overseeing the Italian’s only F1 victory (Monaco, 2004).
Appointed head of the vehicle performance group in 2005, he played a key role in the team’s title wins of 2005 and 2006, and in 2010 he was promoted to the role of head of performance systems.
From 2011 he was appointed engineering director and in 2012 technical director.
“I have enjoyed 19 years in a team with great spirit,” said Chester, “and have worked with an incredibly loyal and talented group of people. I am looking forward to a new challenge and wish everybody in the team all the best for the future.”
“Nick has been a key part of Enstone for almost 20 years,” added Cyril Abiteboul. “His passion for the team has never wavered, despite experiencing some extremely challenging times.
“More recently, his commitment, technical insight and enthusiasm have inspired us to move from the back of the grid to the front of the midfield.
“We would like to sincerely thank Nick for everything and wish him every success in the next stage of his career.”