Renault Reveal the R30
A new look and a new driver for Renault as the team unveiled a new livery as well as confirming the signing of Vitaly Petrov to race alongside Robert Kubica in 2010. One thing is for sure in 2010, Renault will have one of the most striking cars on the grid with a wasp-like yellow and black livery harking back to the car manufacturer’s first foray into Formula 1 in 1978.
But is it the the R30 though? Once you look past the livery it looks remarkably like the R29 – even the wheelbase doesn’t seem that different.
“It’s very different and even my Mum could tell the exterior differences! The R30 is a considerably more svelte and attractive car than its predecessor. These changes are not made for aesthetic appeal however; they are the result of the intensive aerodynamic development that the R30 has benefited from.”
James Allison, Technical Director
Well with James Allison’s mother unavailable for comment, there was nothing for it but to play spot the difference. There are obviously similarities with the nose again sporting the distinctive skirts under the nose that were such a feature of last year’s car. The sidepods also give away Renault’s heritage with the team’s distinctive inlet shape retained, yet there are subtle differences in the sidepod layout, most notably that the exhausts exit lower and further back. There also appears to be significant changes to the rear crash structure – not the sort of changes you simply make for a livery launch. A pertinent question would be “why did they hide the diffuser if it is the R29?”
However, when you sit the R30 and R29 side-by-side, the more subtle changes become apparent, take for instance the nose that on the face of it hasn’t changed. Looking more closely (figure 6 below, not scaled) the nose is clearly narrower, necessitating uprights that need to arch out from the nose in order to fit the standard central wing section that all the teams need to use.
But it’s on an overhead comparison that things become more interesting (figure 5 below). In this case, I have scaled the cars to match based on a number of dimensions that should be identical across both the 2009 and 2010 cars. The “R30″ appears to be slightly longer, suggesting it is indeed a different chassis. However, what is more intriguing is how the driver cockpits line-up. It appears that Renault have found the space for a larger fuel tank by relying almost entirely on moving the drivers forward (and despite having one of the tallest drivers on the grid!) Is that because the R29 was particularly long in the first place having been designed around KERS? On the face of it that is a clever move and the shortwheel base should be advantageous on several circuits, although if the released dimensions of the car length are to be believed it is still a longer car than the Sauber C29.
The off-set of that is that the sidepods appear bulkier than their rivals who have launched so far. Their priority has been in maximising the aerodynamics around the double-deck diffuser, Renault have gone for handling and possibly a higher drag design with it. Have Renault also had to compromise with a taller fuel tank than others, raising the centre of gravity? Which route works out best remains to be seen but it makes you wonder what Red Bull will achieve around the Renault engine.
Still, the R30 looks heavily underdeveloped from last year’s car, a car that was quickly being left behind by the opposition. The nose in particular was picked-out by Renault themselves as being a weak-point of the design and yet on these initial images, appears to have been retained to some extent. For sure, if Red Bull and Brawn are the trend setters for 2010, Renault are off doing their own thing.
Click thumbnails for large images | images courtesy of Renault F1 Team