Launch Season: Renault R29

Renault R29

As mentioned in my previous post, the second launch in the Portimao pitlane on Monday was the colourful Renault R29.

Sporting a livery not unlike the Spanish flag (hmmm.. wonder why..!), noticeably larger branding from ING and new sponsorship from Elf’s sister (parent?) company Total, the 2009 Renault is certainly eye-catching. Last year’s livery design was a bit of a mish mash and didn’t really stick out, so although I’m not keen on these colours, at least they are distinctive!

The most noticeable feature of the car itself is the very wide nose, even wider than the widest seen so far on the Williams, yet the Renault version is much more blunt, more of a wedge-shape. Is this to punch a hole in the air? Is this to stow more ballast in the nose to counteract the weight of the KERS at the back? We’re not really sure at this stage but it is certainly a departure from their ultra-narrow noses of three and four years ago.

The front wing is relatively basic compared to the opposition, but you can expect developments before Melbourne. Remember that the front wing flaps are now adjustable by the driver, but only twice per lap. It seems Renault and Toyota have preferred to make this area uncomplicated aerodynamically for the time being.

Here is a launch pic:

This is a head-on view of the car in testing later on Monday, it really shows both the extent of the nose design and also just how far the new front wing regulations make the endplates stick out. There is a lot of potential for damaged wings this season, and you can imagine it’ll take a race or two for the guys to get used to how close they can race – they don’t run wheel-to-wheel in testing.

If I have time tomorrow I’ll post something on the BMW launched today, but I’ve a lot of college homework to get done first. I really shouldn’t have spent so long tonight watching Obama’s parade on the BBC News website stream!

By the way: Dreyer & Reinbold signing Mike Conway – excellent move for all concerned. My only regret is that they don’t appear to be replacing Milka Duno, instead Mike will take the car vacated by Buddy Rice. Let me tell you now, a Rice/Conway combination would be a great driver line-up. Don’t let his 12th place in ’08 GP2 points fool you into thinking he’s midfield, Conway is a good driver, he’s won in GP2 at Monaco and in F3 at Macau. He can push, he can overtake.

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