Renault R28 Unveiled in Paris

Renault R28Renault 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.

Renault R28

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)
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Williams and Renault roll out their 2008 cars

Two teams used the Valencia test track (not the one to host the F1 race this year) to roll out their 2008 cars.
Renault R28
Although Renault plan their new car launch for January 31, 2008, Fernando Alonso took the new R28 around the track week or so ahead of the official launch. The bridge over the front wing follows the suit of several other teams. Besides the move from V keel to Zero keel there are not too many other technical details available yet, but I must say the car looks quite different from last year’s Renault. Simply said the car looks more rough, more like 2007 Honda than 2007 Renault. It had to be expected the team would opt for brand new approach after disapointing 2007 season but the similarity to 2007 Honda is scary :-) The car (with Alonso behind the wheel) was quite quick on its first day out, about one and half second faster than new Williams (driven by Nico Hulkenberg). The times however should not be taken too seriously. This was the first time for the new cars on the track and the weather was far from ideal.
Renault R28

Williams also rolled out their 2008 car, FW30.
Williams FW30
Unlike Renault they have no plans for official launch. We can again see the front wing bridge but otherwise the new Williams seems to be an evolution of their successful 2007 car – FW29. I hope they got the car right. It would be nice to see this efficient team to fight it again with the big guys. Williams ran another of their interim winter liveries, this time dedicated to all their staff, sponsors and partners for the past 30 years and all the fans. Please, keep the dark blue only livery beyond the winter testing season this time …
Williams FW30

Renault Case Bears No Relation to McLaren Case

Well, that is the opinion of Max Mosley. Perhaps he read some comments on this site :-) and replied them through The Guardian :-) .

So here are few latest gems courtesy of Max Mosley:

On the 2007 F1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen and whether he pleased Kimi has won it:

“Relieved because, if it had been either of the two McLaren drivers, there would always have been a question mark. I’m not sure how big a question mark but it would have been there. And that puts you in an incredibly difficult position. I think we’ve been very lucky.”

On the Ferrari McLaren thingy:

“People are interested in the human aspect and the whole human aspect of the Ferrari-McLaren thing fascinated a lot of people outside Formula One. The publicity actually increases interest. So I don’t think it does any harm to Formula One as long as the sponsors and so on feel the sport is honestly run and honestly governed.”

What does he exactly mean by the “human aspect” ? Tearful Ron Dennis or enterprising duo Coughlan/Stepney or the not exactly smart act by Mrs. Coughlan or the childish Fernando Alonso ?

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The Renault Hearing Transcript

It took FIA some time but the transcript from the Renault hearing is now available. You can download the whole 77 pages from the FIA site or if you are lazy to look for it, just get it from here:

Renault Hearing Transcript

As in McLaren’s case there are some blackened censored areas, but this time the copy/paste technique does not help in decrypting them :-)

Renault Confirms Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. For 2008

Finally the confirmation of the expected came – Fernando Alonso is returning to Renault from next season.

Alonso - McLaren 2007

Nelson Piquet Jr. will be promoted from testing duties to race driver. Romain Grosjean will be Renault’s 3rd pilot.

Nelson Piquet Jr.

This means both 2007 Renault drivers – Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella have to look for his drive elsewhere. Kovalainen has been connected with the McLaren, Fisichella targets Force India.

Flavio Briatore’s words:

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2008 F1 Drivers Market – Alonso, Ralf Schumacher, Rosberg and Others

While the “big” announcement on Fernando Alonso is now after the Renault ruling expected anytime soon, there were some other interesting developments elsewhere over the past few days.

Fernando Alonso

The Jerez tests were kind of a shoot out for the Force India seat. There are no clear winners yet, but there is one obvious looser – Ralf Schumacher. Even he himself now admits, the Jerez outing might have been his last appearance in Formula 1 car

Unlike Ralf, the other serious candidates – Fisichella, Liuzzi and Klien – did not do themselves too much harm.

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2007 Renault F1 Screensaver

After Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari and McLaren the next in the series of 2007 F1 screensavers is Renault. Enjoy the pictures of Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen, they may not be racing for Renault in the next season…

2007 Renault F1 Screensaver

More 2007 F1 screensavers with other 2007 F1 teams will follow. If you do not want to miss out on the new stuff subscribe to F1Wolf. To subscribe to F1Wolf in RSS reader, click here, to get F1Wolf delivered by email click here.

Related:
2007 Kimi Raikkonen Screensaver
2007 Ferrari Screensaver
2007 McLaren Screensaver

Renault Guilty But No Penalty

UPDATED – FULL WMSC DECISION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE

Ron Dennis Flavio Briatore

The history repeats. Like McLaren earlier this year Renault were found guilty but escaped without punishment.

FIA Statement:

“An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Monaco on December 6, 2007. The World Council found Renault F1 to be in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code but imposed no penalty. Detailed reasons for this decision will be issued on December 7, 2007, and a transcript of the proceedings will be published as soon as possible thereafter.”

Renault and Flavio Briatore are obviously pleased with this outcome:
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More Renault Scenarios and Other Team News and Rumours

With not much happening on the transfer market and no testing till next week it was team news and team rumours that made the headlines towards the end of last week and over the weekend.

The Alonso “no news” seems to be confirming my theory that nothing will happen until the Renault spy case is dealt with. We may still have few weeks before things start moving and drivers begin the final shuffle.

So, let’s get to Renault. With all the opinions being voiced there seems to be media pressure piling up for severe punishment for Renault. It looks like the only party that still says Renault should not be penalized is Flavio Briatore. There are warnings coming from all over the web that FIA and Mosley may face serious backlash should Renault get away lightly. It is widely expected that Renault will be at least fined and will have some or all points taken away (and as a result will become McLaren’s neighbours at the end of the pit lane next year). However as Renault already admitted to things that were never proven to McLaren in their case, some (like GrandPrix dot com) even suggest a possibilty of a ban.

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No Prodrive Team On 2008 Formula 1 Grid

What many, me included, have suspected for long time has been confirmed. Prodrive will not make it to the grid for 2008 season. The customer car row, the delays in agreeing on the new Concorde agreement are obvious reasons. This is what Dave Richards had to say to German Auto Moto und Sport magazine:

“There was a dispute about our eligibility. In addition, the new Concorde agreement has been repeatedly delayed. We asked the FIA to be able to start mid-way through the season: our request was rejected. So for 2008 there is not a realistic chance of there being a Prodrive formula one team.

Secondly, we must wait for the new Concorde. Only then can we fully assess our options. Our ambition is still to be in formula one. But there was the risk of legal procedures because we wanted to use a customer car. As a result, our entire business plan was put into doubt. So we have chosen to re-group instead of simply race ahead blindly.”

Well, that’s it then for 24 cars 2008 grid….

However the speculations started almost immediately about another way to F1 for Prodrive.

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Future Of Alonso – Still No News

On November 7 the news broke out that Alonso is close to signing a deal with Renault, announcement was expected later that week.

Then only a day later Renault was summoned to the World Motor Sport Council to answer spying allegations. Coincidentally about the same time some sites reported that Alonso’s manager was talking with Red Bull. This started all sorts of theories, including Bourdais staying one more year in the US and Coulthard making room for Alonso by moving to Toro Rosso. This has been rubbished since by Bourdais, but not by Red Bull or Toro Rosso teams, at least I haven’t spotted it.

After the Renault spy case hearing news I wondered whether Renault and / or Alonso will be in a position to sign anything until the ruling is out, and that will be December 6 if there are no appeals.
Alonso Street
With no news about the Alonso / Renault deal and no fresh indications he is in talks with anybody else it really may be the case that nothing will happen till the Renault ruling is out …

Perhaps the text on scooter helmet on the picture above points into his next destination :-) Just kidding …

Renault Spy Saga – In View Of Recent News

Flavio BriatoreAfter reading several of the lates news releases on this Renault case, visiting several forums to see what other make of it, in the process making fool of myself on one of them with my memory black out on the Stepneygate, I am trying to put some of the recent developments in a context.

The first information came out on September 11, 2007, just days  before the WMSC hearing and McLaren verdict FIA confirmed to Autosport:

“We have noted the speculation and we can confirm that McLaren lawyers have recently brought to our attention certain matters regarding Renault F1. But we can also confirm that the team (Renault) does not form any part of our investigations into McLaren’s alleged breach of Article 151C of the International Sporting Code. The FIA has reminded McLaren that the World Council hearing in Paris on Thursday will focus solely on the new evidence in that investigation. To the extent required, any other matters will be dealt with as part of an entirely separate process. Renault F1 are aware of this and are happy to cooperate fully.”

Flavio Briatore then responed with his now famous quote:

“We told the FIA what we had, so there’s no problem. I don’t know what Dennis refers to, he’s throwing stones a bit everywhere. We are calm, no problem at all.”

Then came weeks of silence and all of a sudden 2 days ago news broke out that Renault were called to appear before WMSC to answer the allegations.

Renault as expected came up with a statement to the media:

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