Okay, finally a look at the French Fantastic.
2009 was a disappointing year for Renault F1. They bet the farm on KERS and ended up with a car that was heavy, ungainly, and slow through the corners — even if it was difficult to pass on the straights. The team that won the World Constructor’s Championship in 2005 and 2006 finished a dismal 8th, with a single podium when Alonso picked up third at Singapore. ING dropped their role as title sponsor, and Renault nearly quit F1 in a huff like Toyota and BMW.
But instead, we get this:
Finally, something better than that damn orange-yellow-white ING livery. Yellow and black are Renault’s colours going back to the RS01 in 1977, and if this car’s any indication they’re going to look pretty damn good on the grid. Visible from the three-quarter view is a W-shaped rear wing mainplane, clearly interacting with the tall (and rather monolithic) shark fin on the engine cover. The sidepods aren’t as undercut as most cars, more bulky like the MGP W01‘s pods; that profile would seem to direct more air up and over the engine cover rather than underneath, and the radical profile changes on the rear wing are probably designed with that in mind.
Furthermore, the car (a) doesn’t have any barge-boards and (b) has a much thicker cross-section at the sidepod intakes than anyone else. Taken together, those suggest more air going over the car rather than around the sides. Those sidepod intakes extend much further down than anyone else’s, just like last year; I have to wonder how much of the R30’s aero package is going to change between now and Bahrain — or between the Valencia and Jerez tests, for that matter.
Looking at the front, we see a very McLaren-ish wing — from last year — with endplates that once again don’t seem as aggressive in channeling air to the outside as we’ve seen on other cars. The R30’s brake ducts are very intricate, which makes sense if the front wing is channeling more air inside the fronts than outside.
The nose itself looks interesting compared to the other cars we’ve seen, but as far as I can tell it’s an evolution of the R29’s nose section rather than a major change. It’s not as low and heavy as last year’s car, but it’s still pretty low and heavy, with sculpted fences on the outside (and around the suspension). I’d be more than a little bit surprised to discover that the underside of the nose isn’t a venturi section, same as last year. Here’s another look:
The fences under the suspension are a bit more obvious here. Those two bulges on top of the nose are no doubt clearances for the suspension’s bellcranks, further evidence that Renault wanted to keep the nose as low as possible. Oddly, the R30’s mirrors and mirror mounts — components used to great effect on other cars — are basic and undeveloped.