Renault F1 has launched its first car under its new Genii Capital management in Valencia today (Sunday), with distinct echoes of the French manufacturer's original entry into the top flight more than three decades ago – the legendary 'Yellow Teapot'.
The departure of key sponsors ING and Mutua Madrileña last year was bound to have an impact on the R30's colour scheme – no bad thing, some might say – and the new model indeed witnesses a return to the iconic yellow-and-black that Renault made famous in the late 1970s and early 1980s, over which period the Régie
triumphed in no fewer than 15 grands prix and challenged for the world championship on several occasions.
“We've been working flat-out during the winter to ensure that we begin the new season in the best shape possible,” underlined Eric Boullier, who alongside Red Bull Racing counterpart Christian Horner is one of the two youngest team principals in the paddock in 2010. “The R30 should be a competitive, strong and reliable car, and we've opted for an aggressive development strategy throughout the season. Now we're here ready for the first test, and we're all excited to see if the car performs as we think it will.”
With stable aerodynamic regulations, the R30 is a mixture of evolution and revolution, and is much more svelte and attractive than its predecessor. In particular, the rear of the car has been considerably re-worked to allow its designers to make the most of the 'double-decker' diffusers that were first seen last year, initially generating a good deal of controversy before being declared legal by governing body the FIA. Changes have also been made to the architecture of the chassis to adapt to the new refuelling ban, which has required the installation of a much larger fuel tank.
The car was unveiled by Robert Kubica and newly-announced team-mate Vitaly Petrov [see separate story – click here
], with the reigning GP2 Series runner-up thereby set to become the first of his countrymen ever to grace the grand prix grid when he takes to the field in the Bahrain curtain-raiser at Sakhir in exactly six weeks' time. Alongside the Polish-Russian pairing, Gravity Sport Management duo Ho-Pin Tung and Jérôme d'Ambrosio were confirmed as third driver and reserve driver respectively, with absent ex-sportscar ace Jan Charouz being appointed as a second reserve.
“The team has been working on the new car for a long time,” affirmed former Canadian Grand Prix-winner Kubica, “and it's clear that we are moving in the right direction. Now we need to maximise the winter tests to keep up this momentum and continue improving the car. Our priority is to make the car easy to drive, because the new rules favour cars that are not too sensitive – we need a car that behaves consistently in a wide range of conditions.”
“The new car looks stunning and the colours remind everybody of Renault's great history in the sport,” added Petrov. “I can't wait to drive the car for the first time and start working with the team!”
That moment will come when the 25-year-old takes to the test track tomorrow (Monday) around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in the Spanish city, with high hopes that the R30 will not take after the 1977 RS01 in any other ways, too, after the original 'Yellow Teapot' earned its moniker as a combined result of its livery and also its unfortunate predilection to break down, with smoke pouring out of the back of the engine much like steam from the top of a teapot.
To view pictures from the launch, CLICK HERE