Posts Tagged ‘renault’

Renault joins the boycott

May 13th, 2009 No comments

RenaultRenault have become the fifth Formula One team to announce that they won’t be competing in the 2010 World Championship unless the two-tier regulations are rewritten.

Toyota was the first team to declare they would not compete under the regulations announced at the WMSC meeting on 29 April.  They were followed by similar announcements from Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Ferrari.

This means half the 2009 grid are now saying they won’t race next year unless the regulations are revised.  I don’t expect Brawn GP, Williams or Force India will join the boycott, and McLaren will probably want to keep a low profile, but I wouldn’t be surprised if BMW were to announce that they will not race under the new rules either.

Like Ferrari, Renault have said it is not the cost cutting they are against, rather it is the fact that there will be two sets of rules.  Also like Ferrari, Renault have taken the opportunity to criticise the governance of the sport and again I have to agree.  Surely Formula One would benefit if as they say “the sport is coordinated with a spirit of consultation with all parties (FIA, FOM, FOTA)?”

The Renault statement in full:

The decision of the Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA) to introduce two sets of Formula One technical regulations for the 2010 Formula One season has caused the Renault Group to reconsider its entry in next year’s FIA Formula One World Championship.There is frustration that FOTA’s constructive proposals, including major cost saving measures to be adopted progressively between 2009 and 2012, which were carefully constructed by FOTA members, have been completely ignored without any form of consultation by the FIA with the teams.

It should be stressed that FOTA has set the same, if not lower, financial objective as the FIA, but Renault strongly believes that this must be introduced through a different procedure agreed by all parties.

Renault also believes that it is paramount that the governance of the sport is coordinated with a spirit of consultation with all parties (FIA, FOM, FOTA) in order to achieve a better balance between the costs and the revenues. Renault is also of the firm view that all entrants in the World Championship must adhere to and operate under the same regulations.

President of the ING Renault F1 Team, Bernard Rey, commented: “Renault has always considered Formula One as the pinnacle of motor sport and the perfect stage to demonstrate technical excellence. We remain committed to the sport, however we cannot be involved in a championship operating with different sets of rules, and if such rules are put into effect, we will be forced to pull out at the end of this season.”

ING Renault F1 Team Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, commented: “Our aim is to reduce costs while maintaining the high standards that make Formula One one of the most prestigious brands on the market. We want to achieve this in a coordinated manner with the regulatory and commercial bodies, and we refuse to accept unilateral governance handed out by the FIA. If the decisions announced by the World Council on the 29th of April 2009 are not revised, we have no choice but to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of 2009.”

Max Mosley is due to meet with FOTA on Friday.  It should be an interesting meeting.

Image: Renault

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McLaren and Renault threatened boycott

March 24th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneThe Times is reporting that in a meeting between Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, McLaren chairman and CEO Ron Dennis, Toyota team principal and FOTA vice-president John Howett and Bernie Ecclestone, Dennis and Briatore threatened to boycott the Australian Grand Prix.

They allegedly told Ecclestone that unless he wrote them a check they wouldn’t put their cars on the specially chartered flights to Australia last Sunday and neither would the rest of FOTA.  The money in question is in payment for signing a new Concorde Agreement, something the teams are yet to do.

According to Ecclestone:

Flavio said, ‘we’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne.’  He – Flavio – started it, aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.

Unfazed, Bernie decided to called their bluff:

I picked up the phone to our people that handle all the freight to ask them to cancel the aeroplanes.  They were saying, ‘all the Fota-schmota are not going – nobody’s going to go.’ So I said what I’d better do is cancel the aircraft obviously. It costs a fortune to charter those things and almost as much to cancel them.

All the cars are now in Melbourne so the threat obviously wasn’t carried out.  The first race hasn’t even been run but we may already have the Bernie quote of the season:

If they come in here with a gun and hold it to my head, they had better be sure they can fucking pull the trigger.  And they should make sure it’s got bullets in it because, if they miss, they better look out.

The tensions between FOTA and the FIA/Ecclestone has undertones of the FISA-FOCA war of the 80’s.  Back then, Bernie Ecclestone as Brabham team owner and Max Mosley as his legal advisor were on the other side of the conflict that culiminated in a boycott of the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix.  Among the complaints of the FOCA teams were FISA’s handling of regulations and financial compensation.

Sounds familiar…

Shark fins, skate fins and the new Williams paint job

February 27th, 2009 No comments

Trulli testing the TF109 in BahrainIt seems like fins may be making a return to Formula One in 2009.

Renault’s R29 was launched with an elongated ‘shark fin’ engine cover and Toyota, despite launching their TF109 without it, have been using one in testing.

Now, at the launch of their final high-tech livery for 2009, Williams’s FW31 has grown a pair of ‘skate fins’ either side of the cockpit.

Red Bull was the first team to introduce a fin-shaped engine cover on their RB4 in pre-season testing at Barcelona last year and by the end of 2008 almost all the teams were using some kind of elongated engine cover.  Williams tested a shark fin but never raced it.

The shark and skate fins are intended to improve the quality of airflow over the rear wing.  This increases downforce and so allows the teams to run a lower rear wing angle, thereby increasing top speed.  It should also provide enhanced rear-end stability under braking.

Given the reduction in downforce levels for 2009 it is perhaps surprising that only Toyota and Renault have chosen to carry over the full-blown shark fin from last year and Adrian Newey, the man who first introduced it to F1, has shrunk the fin on the new Red Bull RB5 to a pointy little spike (stingray barb?)

The new aerodynamic regulations for 2009 have forced the car designers to go back to the drawing board and I expect we will see other teams finding holes in the regulations that they can exploit as the season progresses.

Pictures of the new Williams FW31 livery are below:

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Williams FW31 and Renault R29 released

January 19th, 2009 No comments

Renault R29 launchWilliams and Renault have unveiled their 2009 contenders at Portimao in Portugal today. While the Williams FW31 is painted in winter test livery, the Renault R29 is sporting a new paintjob and prominent Total branding with the front and rear wing end-plates.

Both cars show the new wide front wing and tall rear wing prescribed by the new 2009 regulations but as with the previous 2009 car launches each have their own unique approach. The Renault’s rear is quite different from any of the other 2009 cars and they have kept the ‘shark fin’ from last year.

The Williams’s front wing looks more sculpted than the Renault. Williams have also chosen to go down a different route with their KERS development. While most teams have opted for an electronic device, Williams are using a kinetic version.

Categories: Cars Tags: , ,