On Sunday the Renault F1 team revealed its 2010 race car with a color scheme that hearkens back to the team's debut in the late 1970s. The yellow-and-black livery was the traditional pattern used by Renault on its Formula One and Le Mans sports cars before the company began taking on title sponsors.
Of course, the downside of the retro look is that the team still has not signed a title sponsor to replace insurance company ING, which called it quits last summer after the team was found guilty of having Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crash during a race in late 2008.
The automaker now owns only a minority stake in the team after having sold most of it to Genii Capital.
At the launch of the new racer, Renault also announced that Russian Vitaly Petrov will run alongside ex-Sauber driver Robert Kubica in the second car. Petrov is the first Russian to get a full-time F1 drive. A video and press release are included after the jump.
The Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce that Vitaly Petrov will race for the team this season alongside Robert Kubica.
The 25-year-old will become the first Russian to compete in Formula One when he makes his Grand Prix debut in Bahrain in March. He joins the Renault F1 Team off the back of a successful GP2 career having finished as the Series runner-up last season.
Renault F1 Team Principal, Eric Boullier, said: "This is a very special day for Vitaly and we welcome him into the team. As a rookie, we recognise that Vitaly will have a lot to learn this season, but his performances in GP2 last year were outstanding and confirmed that he is ready to make the step up to Formula One. With Robert alongside him, Vitaly has the perfect role model to learn from and I'm confident he will deliver on the promise he has shown throughout his career."
Vitaly Petrov added: "This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to working with the team this season. 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."
Renault F1 Team presents the R30 in Valencia
The Renault F1 Team took the covers off its 2010 challenger, the R30, today in front of assembled media at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
Renault F1 Team driver Robert Kubica was on hand to unveil the car and reveal the exciting new black and yellow livery – the iconic colours made famous by Renault in the 1980s. The team also presented Vitaly Petrov as Robert's teammate for the 2010 season. The 25-year-old finished as runner-up in the GP2 Series last year and becomes the first Russian driver to race in Formula One.
After unveiling the R30, Team Principal, Eric Boullier, joined Robert and Vitaly for a photo call in front of the car, along with the team's Third Driver, Ho-Pin Tung, and Reserve Driver, Jérôme d'Ambrosio. Czech driver Jan Charouz will also be a Reserve Driver for the team this year but was unable to attend the presentation.
With stable aero regulations the R30 is a mixture of evolution and revolution, and is much more svelte and attractive than its predecessor. In particular the rear of the car has been considerably reworked to allow the car to make the most of the 'double-decker' diffusers that were first seen last year. Changes have also been made to the architecture of the chassis to adapt to the refuelling ban, which has required the installation of a much larger fuel tank.
Speaking at the presentation, Eric Boullier praised the team's efforts in delivering the new car in time for the first test: "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."
Both Robert and Vitaly were thrilled to see their new car and spoke of their hopes for the season ahead: "The team has been working on the new car for a long time and it's clear that we are moving in the right direction," said Robert. "Now we need to maximise the winter tests to keep up this momentum and continue improving the car. Our priority is to make the car easy to drive because the new rules favour cars that are not too sensitive – we need a car that behaves consistently in a wide range of conditions."
Vitaly Petrov added: "The new car looks stunning and the colours remind everybody of Renault's great history in the sport. I can't wait to drive the car for the first time and start working with the team."
The Renault F1 Team will remain in Valencia until Wednesday evening to complete the first pre-season test session.