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Renault take wraps off R31 in Valencia 31 Jan 2011

(L to R): Robert Kubica (POL) Lotus Renault GP; Gerard Lopez (FRA) Genii Capital; Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus Renault GP Team Principal and Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP unveil the Lotus Renault GP R31. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011. Robert Kubica (POL) Lotus Renault GP and team mate Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP (Left). Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011. Lotus Renault GP R31 nose and front wing detail. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011. Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP and Robert Kubica (POL) Lotus Renault GP unveil the Lotus Renault GP R31. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011. (L to R): Jan Charouz (CZE) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Ho-Ping Tung (CHN) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011.

Hot on the heels of rivals Lotus and Sauber, Renault have become the latest team to reveal their 2011 car. The R31, bedecked in the iconic black and gold colours associated with backers Group Lotus, was presented to the media in the pit lane of the Valencia track, ahead of the first pre-season test of the year which will begin on Tuesday at the Spanish circuit.

Race drivers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov were on hand to unveil the new machine, alongside technical director James Allison, team principal Eric Boullier and chairman Gerard Lopez. For Allison, the long months of hard work have paid off and the engineer is confident that the R31 will present a tangible step forward from its predecessor, the R30, which powered the team to fifth in the 2010 constructors’ standings.

“Words like ‘aggressive’ and ‘innovative’ are very much in vogue in Formula One at the moment, but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate,” he said. “It’s true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year’s car, but from any car this team has ever produced.”

Team principal Boullier was just as optimistic, thanks to the new car’s strengths, as well as the Enstone team’s growing efficiency.

“All the hard work over the winter has been focused on delivering a big improvement for 2011,” he said. “The result is a car with more than 92 percent new parts compared to the R30. But technical innovation isn’t the only key to performance. Since last year, we have reviewed all our internal processes and our overall efficiency has now improved by 15 percent. That means we should be more competitive than last year, on the track and at the factory.”

Petrov, who gleaned 27 points from his debut season in 2010, will be in charge of the R31 when it makes its on-track debut on Tuesday, and for the Russian it’s a thrilling opportunity.

“It feels exciting to be starting my second year of Formula One and I can’t wait to try this beautiful car for the first time tomorrow,” hesaid. “Now that I have a year of F1 experience behind me, I feel more confident and ready to deliver. I’m determined to do well and fight hard for this team.”

Petrov's more experienced team mate Kubica will take over the car for the remaining two days’ of testing from Wednesday. The Polish driver, who scored 136 points and three podium finishes in 2010, is also targeting a much more productive 2011.

“After a long winter break you always feel ready to jump back in the car,” he added. “At the moment it’s difficult to know just how competitive our package will be, but the engineers have decided to go for an innovative design, which is good.”

Renault also presented their new third drivers Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean at the event, whilst the team’s reserve drivers (and members of their young driver academy) were confirmed as Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy, who was unable to attend the launch due to his GP2 commitments.

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