Sep.20 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Enstone based F1 team Renault plans to have a new driver simulator up and running in time for the 2012 season.

The outfit announced on Monday that the local council has granted permission for the new facility to be situated next to the upgraded wind tunnel.

Renault, whose existing simulator was once derided by then team driver Fernando Alonso as no better than a Playstation, said “building work will begin imminently”.

“The confirmation that our simulator is on the way is further evidence of our continued investment for the future,” added team boss Eric Boullier.

Group Lotus-sponsored Renault has had a difficult 2011 season; trailing the top four teams, batting off speculation of financial troubles and experimenting first with Nick Heidfeld and now Bruno Senna due to Robert Kubica’s absence.

“Well, it has been challenging,” admitted Frenchman Boullier.

“I cannot say all the challenges were enjoyable – going through the difficulties we had after Robert’s crash was not easy – but overall I enjoy being tested with the issues that come my way, and tackling them in the best way I can for the team.

“Overseeing these challenges is part of my job. There’s certainly never a dull moment,” he smiled.