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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 14:22 GMT
Renault have made progress over the winter

Renault viewed 2003 as a year of consolidation, but they achieved their aim to be genuinely competitive with the top three teams.

Having firmly established themselves last year as the fourth best team in F1, that is where they remain in the final analysis in 2003.

What Renault hoped for was to close what last season was too large a gap to the big three, and they have done just that.

Nationality: French
Years in F1: 11
2003 position: 4th
Drivers' titles: 0
Constructors' titles: 0
Team principal: Flavio Briatore

Their 2003 chassis, in particular, was very good - many consider it to be the best on the grid - and it made up to some extent for what remains a down-on-power radical wide-angle engine.

That design is being ditched for 2004 in favour of a more conventional unit, which underlines the team's commitment to future success.

And the ace card in their hand as they pursue that is Fernando Alonso, who marked himself out as a future superstar with some excellent drives.

Going into the season, the biggest mystery was their signing up for the limited-testing option, and with it the extra practice session at race weekends.

It does seem, as the team predicted, to have been an advantage at times this season - in that Renault have been able to steal a march on the big teams by getting extra track time at individual races.

Renault can look back on a season in which they have surprised many. But if they are to challenge for the title in 2005, as they want, the key now is to keep that momentum going.

F1 2003

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