The world's media got their first glimpse of Lotus Renault GP's 2011 challenger this afternoon as the R31 was presented in the pit lane of the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.
Robert and Vitaly joined Gerard Lopez (Chairman of LRGP) and Eric Boullier (Team Principal and Managing Director) to pull back the covers and present the car the team hopes will continue the squad's push towards the front of the grid.
'For Genii Capital and Lotus Renault GP, the 2011 season will be the one in which we achieve our aims,' said Gerard Lopez. 'We now have 100% ownership of the team, and we're tackling the coming championship wîth the intention of continuing to do things our way – but always wîth humility. I would like to welcome Lotus Cars, a new ambitious title sponsor wîth us for the long term. Renault and Total have also chosen to accompany us again in this adventure and we thank them for their valuable contribution. Our aim for 2011 is to continue our march towards the front of the grid, seize the slightest opportunity and do better than last season in both the drivers' and constructors' championships. We feel we are well prepared for the challenge ahead.'
Eric Boullier echoed those sentiments and paid tribute to the enormous effort back at the team's base in Enstone: 'All the hard work over the winter has been focused on delivering a big improvement for 2011. The result is a car wîth more than 92% new parts compared to the R30. But technical innovation isn't the only key to performance. Since last year, we have reviewed all our internal processes and our overall efficiency has now improved by 15%. That means we should be more competitive than last year, on the track and at the factory.'
Technical Director, James Allison, explained how the team approached the design of the R31: 'Words like ‘aggressive' and ‘innovative' are very much in vogue in Formula 1 at the moment, but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate. It's true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year's car, but from any car this team has ever produced.'
Engine : 2.4 L., 8-cylinder Engine : , 8-cylinder
Both Robert and Vitaly were enthusiastic as they got acquainted wîth their new car and eager for the season to get underway.
'After a long winter break you always feel ready to jump back in the car,' explained Robert. 'At the moment it's difficult to know just how competitive our package will be, but the engineers have decided to go for an innovative design, which is good.'
Vitaly added: 'It feels exciting to be starting my second year of Formula 1 and I can't wait to try this beautiful car for the first time tomorrow. Now that I have a year of F1 experience behind me, I feel more confident and ready to deliver. I'm determined to do well and fight hard for this team.'
The team's new third drivers were presented as well, wîth Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean adding further strength to the team's driver line-up. The team's reserve drivers (and members of the LRGP Academy) were confirmed as Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy (who was unable to attend the launch due to his GP2 Series commitments).
The team also welcomes two important new partners in SunCore and Sibur, while Genii Capital promotes its Business Exchange platform through more significant branding on the car.Source - Lotus
Renault Sport F1 Preview to the Canadian GP
The FIA Formula One World Championship moves from Monaco, the circuit wîth the slowest average speed on the calendar, to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Canada, and the fastest lap of the year. The 4.361km track follows the outline of the island on which it is located and is dominated by straights linked by hairpins or tight turns. A lap of the track takes on average just over 75 seconds, the quickest single lap time of the season.
Renault engines have won the Canadian Grand Prix on four previous occasions; three times wîth the V10 and once wîth the V8. Thierry Boutsen scored the first win in 1989 wîth Williams-Renault, wîth Alain Prost victorious, again in a Williams-Renault, in 1993 and Damon Hill in 1996. Fernando Alonso sealed the first V8 win in 2006 for the Renault F1 Team. Additionally Renault has achieved six pole positions, the first coming wîth the V6 in 1985 wîth Elio de Angelis.
A lap of Canada from an engine point of view:The long straights of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve demand an efficient low downforce aero package and a strong engine that's high on top end horsepower while the slow hairpins and tight corners require stability under braking and good traction throughout the turns. Approximately 55% of the lap is spent at full power.
Sector one starts on the short pit straight. During the race this will be the first of the two DRS activation zones and speeds will peak at around 300kph at the end of the straight before shifting to third gear and taking the first corner, a left hander, at approx 120kph. T1 is the start of a spoon-profiled corner that demands a smooth engine setting that must be maintained throughout the turn. Engine revs will be at approx 11,000rpm for five seconds through this turn, the longest consistently low rev setting of the lap, before a short sprint to turn three; a relatively open chicane taken in third gear. Drivers pass into the second sector just before turn six, a 90° left hander.
Sector two takes in the relatively stop start ‘complex' of the left hander of turn six and flick to turn seven and then a short straight leading to turns eight and nine, a right handed chicane that requires drivers to lift off the throttle and shift down to second before getting immediately back on the power for the straight leading to the hairpin. As such, the engine needs to be extremely responsive under braking on the apexes and then acceleration on the exits – this is the longest sector in time and therefore more time can be lost or won.
The final sector starts just before turn 10 and the Epingle, or hairpin. Cars brake down to 58kph for this turn before starting on the Droit du Casino straight. Engine maps will be created to give drivers good traction and responsiveness on the entry to the hairpin, but also good acceleration away from it since this is the longest straight on the circuit at 1,064m, and the second DRS activation zone. Drivers will accelerate through the gears to reach around 320kph in qualifying and 305kph during the race just before the braking for turn 13, another chicane that has the ignominious moniker ‘Wall of Champions' on account of the proximity of the wall on the exit. Stability under braking going into this chicane is key and drivers will use engine braking as well as literal braking. A responsive engine on exit can give crucial tenths.
View from Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations:
Canada presents a unique challenge for engine engineers. There are other very low downforce circuits on the calendar – Spa and Monza being the most obvious – but the combination of long straights and tight corners gives the engine a complete workout over all levels of torque. You need to have an engine that's good under acceleration and top end power, but also works well through the lower end of the revs to give driveability out of the hairpin corners. We're confident that the RS27 delivers – in Monaco, the hardest test of driveability, the Renault-engined drivers set consistent top ten lap times in the race, while in China, the longest straight of the year, Petrov and Heidfeld were fastest through the speed traps.
Although we are really happy wîth how the season has gone so far - Renault engines have so far scored 272 points over our partner teams – we're not sitting back. We saw in Monaco that the racing is closer than ever and teams are pushing in every area. That's why we're working just as hard to give all our clients what they need as they develop their cars in this crucial part of the year.
Did you know…
After each session over a race weekend the RS27 is checked by three technicians per partner team, while three engineers work on the settings. In consultation wîth the chassis technicians, the RSF1 team will check the oil filter, air filter, spark plugs and lubricants level. If necessary each of these parts can be changed under the FIA sporting regulations. Engine maps can be refined until the race.Source - Renault
Double podium for RS27 in chaotic Canadian Grand Prix
Heavy rain, five safety car periods, a two hour race stoppage and incidents of varying degrees were the hallmarks of today's Canadian Grand Prix. Despite the chaos, two Renault RS27 engines finished on the podium wîth Red Bull Racing-Renault's Sebastian Vettel ending the 70 lap race in second place – just losing the lead on the final lap to Jenson Button. Red Bull team mate Mark Webber drove a measured Grand Prix to pass the flag in third. Lotus Renault GP's Vitaly Petrov, also powered by the RS27, came home in fifth, five places up on his grid slot, giving the RS27 three of the top 10 positions. Team Lotus' Jarno Trulli finished the race – which eventually finished four hours after it started – in 17th position.
Sebastian Vettel retains his lead in the championship over Jenson Button, who now moves into second position, while Mark Webber keeps third. In the constructors' championship, Red Bull Racing-Renault extends its lead to 255 points over McLaren's 186, wîth Lotus Renault GP keeping fourth.
Key race weekend points:
Red Bull RacingSebastian was powered to his sixth pole position of the year by the Renault RS27, maintaining the Red Bull Racing-Renault's unbroken record of poles this season. The reigning world champion set a time more than two seconds quicker than the pole of 2010 to secure his 21st career pole, the 183rd for Renault in F1 and the 27th for the Red Bull-Renault partnership. Sebastian controlled the race for the majority of the 70 laps, and was holding off Button after the final safety car period, but ran wide wîth just a couple of corners remaining to allow the Briton through. Mark had a tough race, wîth a spin after the first safety car when he made contact wîth the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. He dropped down to 14th but by the fourth safety car was back into the top ten and on lap 51 moved to slick tyres to start his charge to third. After some tight battles wîth Schumacher and Button he claimed third wîth three laps remaining to get his third podium of the year.
Lotus Renault GP
Nick and Vitaly both used their RS27 to qualify in the top ten; wîth Nick starting 9th and Vitaly 10th. Nick was a late retirement after a racing accident wîth Kamui Kobayashi on lap 55 damaged his front wing and sent him skidding off into the barriers. Vitaly claimed fifth, wîth the third fastest lap of the race and now moves to seventh in the drivers' championship.
After a very strong weekend, which saw Team Lotus qualify just half a second from Q2, the race proved to be more difficult, wîth Heikki retiring the T128 on lap 36 wîth a driveshaft failure. Jarno had a strong drive after losing some places following his first pit stop, but lost further time when the front inerter failed and dropped down around his feet in the cockpit. He however brought the car to the finish in 17th overall.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations, gives his views on the race weekend:
The Canadian Grand Prix is always a tough challenge for the engines since the 4.361km track features a 1km long straight that covers 25% of the total lap distance and tight, sharp corners. As a result, the circuit demands good engine performance at the top end wîth good driveability and responsiveness as well. To get two engines on the podium at such a track, and three in the top 10, is a really good result.
The rain obviously also played a large role in the engine management strategy as well, as we opted for softer engine maps to give the drivers smoother acceleration out of the corners in the slippery conditions. We also had to watch the fuel consumption rates wîth the constantly changing lap times, frequent pit stops and then the safety car periods so we can be pretty pleased wîth the overall finish.
Congratulations to Red Bull Racing on a well judged race, it was a shame to miss out on the win at the very end, but Sebastian retains a healthy lead in the championship all the same. Lotus Renault GP keeps hold of fourth as well and showed they are back to competitive form. It was unfortunate that Nick couldn't give them a double points finish but in these conditions it's a real lottery. Team Lotus made some good progress again this weekend and we are very pleased wîth how this partnership is maturing.
Hopefully we'll continue the strong form across all our partners at the next round in Valencia, which has similar characteristics to here wîth the tight corners and stop-start complexes, plus some high speed sections.Source - Renault
The 2012 title is the 11th constructors championship that Renault has taken in the sport. After joining forces with Williams at the end of the 80s, the first constructors championship came in 1992.