Renault today launched their 2010 contender at Valencia, the R30, and also confirmed Vitaly Petrov as their second driver, as we reported on Friday.
At first it were as if everyone at the launch had travelled back in time by 30 years – as when Robert Kubica revealed the car for the first time, it showed a car decked out in a retro yellow and black paint scheme akin to the Renault RS10.
The snazzy paintjob was actually the most noticeable change on the whole car – of the four teams to have launched their new cars so far (Ferrari, McLaren, Sauber and Renault), the R30 looked the most like its predecessor – by quite a margin. Unlike the McLaren MP4-25 with its aggressively tapered sidepods, the Renault looked quite bulky at the rear, despite claims it had been ‘considerably reworked’ for the new car.
However team principal Eric Boullier was confident ahead its first test appearance; “We've been working flat-out during the winter to ensure that we begin the new season in the best shape possible. 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.”
Meanwhile Renault also used the launch of their new car to reveal the rest of their driver line-up – firstly confirming Petrov as their second driver.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to working with the team this season,” said Petrov. “I've always dreamed of racing in Formula One and so to make my debut with a top team like Renault is very exciting. The first race is just over a month away so I will make sure I spend as much time as possible with the team over the next few weeks so that I am fully prepared in time for Bahrain.”
Many people have suspected Petrov was chosen for money over talent – but Boullier has been keen to quash these rumours.
“We just put it simply: either we go for an experienced driver which, on paper, may help to bring back some points for the championship – which is very crucial. Or we go for a young driver. One of the things that we wanted was to have a driver with strong sporting results. This is why Petrov was on the list.”
Renault also revealed their third driver as Ho-Pin Tung, but have selected another two young drivers as reserves for this season. Jerome D’Ambrosio and Jan Charouz have also been added to the Renault line up, the former with strong links to the team as a member of team owner Gerard Lopez‘s Gravity management program, along with Tung.
“It’s really a dream come true for me, but it’s also the start of a new adventure,” said Tung. “I want to make the most of being part of the Renault F1 team to learn as much as I can; to absorb everything around me and to become a better driver. But I also want to make a real contribution and whenever the team needs me, I will be ready to help.”