Renault take wraps off R31 in Valencia 31 Jan 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. Its 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 years car, but from any car this team has ever produced.
Team principal Boullier was just as optimistic, thanks to the new cars strengths, as well as the Enstone teams 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 isnt 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 its a thrilling opportunity.
It feels exciting to be starting my second year of Formula One and I cant 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. Im 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 its 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 teams 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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