Renault unveiled their 2008 F1 car – the R28 – yesterday in Paris. The eyesore of the livery remains but the team says this new car represents a shift in the design philosphy. The predecessor, R27, suffered from the switch to the Bridgestone tyres (and the wrong wind tunnel data reading), so it is no surprise that the R28 main design focus has been on getting the most of the Bridgestone tyres.
The new car features revised weight distribution, new aerodynamic concept and a “zero-keel” front suspension mounting. The new Renault is yet another car featuring the front wing bridge. Under the chassis the biggest changes are the new Standard ECU and new 4 race gearbox.
Technical Director Bob Bell:
“2007 was a very poor year by our standards. For 2008, there are high expectations inside and outside the team, and it is down to us to give the drivers a competitive car. We have put the problems from 2007 behind us and in terms of the car design, we have looked at the problem afresh. The team pushed very hard in all areas, and particularly on the aerodynamics. The front end of the car has come in for special attention with a brand new front wing and the front suspension. The rear end has also been heavily reworked, and we haven’t neglected the basics. The car ran reliably in its first test, and we made encouraging progress on performance development last week. We are confident that the advances we have seen in the wind tunnel will be reflected on track.”
(more photos in the article)
“We have the strength in depth to overcome our disappointments. Renault has invested for the future at Enstone, especially with the new CFD Centre, which gives us the stability we need to move forward. The new car is a change in direction for the team, and we have been aggressive with the concept. When you add in Fernando’s ability to lead the team on the track, it is a powerful combination. Remember, in 2007 we finished third in the championship with a bad car, that we did not develop for half of the season. For 2008, we have a good car – and a world champion driver. The situation looks promising.”
Just a reminder for Flavio – Yes, you finished 3rd in the constructors table, but you were the 4th best. Remember McLaren ?
Fernando Alonso – the double ace:
“The entire team is absolutely determined to get back to the top, they are pushing very hard and that is a big motivation for me. First and foremost, I am a racer, and I obviously want to win. I will do my maximum to make that happen, and I know that is what is expected from me. Some people have suggested that I have unfinished business from 2007, but that’s not the way I look at it. I am preparing for this season the same way I always have done: by concentrating on my job. My first feeling with the car was good and the team is working incredibly hard. It looks encouraging at the moment.”
Alonso also said, that Renault is at the moment about a second a lap behind the top cars:
“At the moment, we need to close the gap to the top teams, McLaren and Ferrari, because we are a little bit too far behind them. At the moment, there is not any possibility to fight for podiums or wins, or things like that, so that is the first priority of this winter tests and the first race. To close the gap, and to be behind them two or three tenths is not such a big problem. But to be one second or eight tenths, like we are at the moment, is a little bit too much.”
Nelson Piquet Jr. – the rookie:
“Melbourne still seems a long way off to me. We have a lot of work to do beforehand, and I am focused on the next test sessions and our development programme. That will help me improve my physical condition too, because driving is always the best preparation; and I can continue learning to make sure I am ready for my first Grand Prix. My aim this year is to get the maximum out of the package, and to do a good job for the team. There will be a lot to learn and I not underestimating the challenge of Formula 1.”
I do not want to be mean, but this statement sounds like not much ambition and lots of excuses …
Here are few more photos of the new Renault R28: