Renault have unveiled the car they hope to retain the constructors title with in the 2007 season. The R27 was shown to the world’s media today in the usual pomp that Renault enjoy, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen enjoying the limelight alongside team boss Flavio Briatore.
The launch took place in Amsterdam, indicating the new relationship the team has with title sponsor ING. Mild Seven have finally left the team following the ban on tobacco advertising, and the new R27 is sporting a striking new livery. Introducing INGs colours of orange, white and dark blue, gone is the light blue that was so closely associated with previous driver and reigning champion Fernando Alonso.
I am personally still undecided about the new livery*. It is certainly eye-catching, and I’m sure we won’t have too much trouble telling the cars apart on the race track – a problem that plagued last year with Toyota, McLaren and the then Midland team looking so similar. I think the yellow doesn’t go to well with the orange and blue, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
From a technical standpoint, Renault have already had the car photographed at various shakedowns and test over the past week or so, and the car is certainly different from the outside. The shaply mirrors that come from the sidepods are striking, and the curvature of the sidepods make the car really stand out.
Lead driver Giancarlo remains with the team for another year, but after being comprehensively beaten by Alonso for the previous two seasons, the Italian has a lot of weight on his shoulders right now. Over the winter Giancarlo has acknowledged the pressure he is under, but has remained optimistic and feels that this could be his year.
The spirit of the team is strong after two fantastic seasons, and we are feeling optimistic. The team has shown its confidence in me for the new season, and I am determined to repay that in the best way possible, out on track. The team knows how to design winning cars capable of fighting for the championship. That means there is a fantastic opportunity for me this year, and I am determined to make the most of it. Giancarlo Fisichella.
Giancarlo will be partnered with rookie driver Heikki Kovalainen from Finland. While Heikki is yet to race, he has been a Renault tester for over a year and has notched up many thousands of kilometres in Renaults. Heikki has impressed team managers and fans all over the world, but his real test will come in March when he takes to the grid for the first time in a Formula One car.
I am very excited about the new season, but I know that so far, I have achieved nothing at all. I pushed myself very hard last year in testing, to show the team that I was capable of doing the job. They had faith in me, and now it is my turn to deliver on that promise. It is a big privilege for a rookie driver to start his career in a race-winning car, and I am focused on doing it justice. This will be a season where I have a lot to learn, and I need to keep mistakes to a minimum. There will be pressure, but that will come from me, because I always drive myself to improve in every area. Overall, I am expecting 2007 to be a fantastic year for me. I am in the best possible place to start my career, and my focus is on preparing as thoroughly as possible for the first race – and the sixteen to come after that. Heikki Kovalainen.
Renault F1 Team President – Alain Dassas – asserted his goals for the upcoming season, and spoke of continued success and good competition.
Double championship success in 2005 and 2006 has earned Renault its status as a major force in Formula One. Our Formula One championship success is a benchmark of excellence that we aim to meet in every area of our operations. The Renault F1 Team’s performance culture reflects the ambitious objectives of our company-wide plan, Renault Commitment 2009. Consecutive double championships are concrete proof that Renault can win in a demanding environment where success demands quality, technical excellence and reliability. Alain Dassas.
* I’ve decided, I like the new livery. It’s a bit busy, but it is quite nice. But then, I always say that about new Formula One cars!
Images courtesy of RenaultF1.