Video: Renault lose their start line advantage

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Renault have lost the stunning start line advantage that they had become famous for in recent years.

Until last year you could pretty much guarantee that whoever qualified immediately in front of a Renault could count on being behind them again by the first corner.

But the double championship winners of the last two years ahve fallen from grace this season – and part of that seems to include their start line prowess as these videos show.

At last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso catapulted from seventh to third at the start – immediately flying past both McLarens:

The same super traction launched him from ninth to third at the United States Grand Prix in 2004:

But starting from eighth in this year’s Spanish race Heikki Kovalainen made no progress off the line:

Many people had guessed at the secret behind Renault’s super starts over the last few years. When launch control was banned for 2005 many foresaw the end to Renault’s great getaways – but it wasn’t.

Perhaps the key was the way Renault used its Michelin tyres? That has been blamed for much of the team’s loss of performance this year.

It seems that when the sport waved goodbye to Michelin, Renault also said farewell to its start line advantage.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Video: Renault lose their start line advantage”

  1. A lot of Renault’s start line advantage, from what I’ve heard, was down to their rearward weight bias in relation to their rivals. This puts more energy into the tyres, which provides more grip (albeit for a shorter time before graining begins). Since the Bridgestones oblige a forwards shift in weight distribution, that would explain why that advantage is not present (or not to the same extent as it used to be – Giancarlo doesn’t seem to have been quite as heavily afflicted in terms of starts).

  2. Sadly looks like they need it this season much more than they ever needed it :( But Renault have always been fast learners(remember the whole dampers issue that hit them in 06) hopefully they will be competitive at the top by the last third of the season.

  3. Renault was always kknow for their rocketstarts. Heard before that they had this genius from Nissan work on their launch control.

    True, they’re losing this start-line advantage at this point, but with the upcoming traction control ban, all the teams would then be dependent on their driver’s control even more.

  4. Next year is going to be very interesting indeed – I’m glad they are getting rid of some of the technology even though F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of innovation in that area.

    It will be worth it to have a more level playing field where any good moves will be down to the driver’s skill, and there can be no blaming TC when they do something wrong! :)

  5. But methinks they’ll find a way to go around the TC ban again. Even with standardized ECUs, it doesn’t stop the team from putting any other software of their choosing into the car. These engineers are paid to push the rules to the absolute limit, after all.

    We’ll see soon enough.

  6. If I remember rightly, at least one team had developed an airbox speed measurement system completely unconnected to the ECU that enabled it to mimic TC in 2000 – and that was during the previous TC ban. While traction control is bad for demonstrating driver skill, teams will nonetheless continue to develop TC-esque systems because it makes their cars go faster. That is, after all, what they want to do.

  7. the one thing they are missing this year?

    Fernando alonso

    He has always been a great starter… and without him all you have is Fisi who has never been worth much at the start with the same car.

  8. Robert McKay
    25th June 2007, 20:21

    Nonsense, Carldec. You regularly saw both Renaults leaping off the line. The driver didn’t actually do much, except react, and even if Alonso had slightly faster reactions than Fisi, he certainly couldn’t make the car accelerate any faster, as that’s what the electronics were doing.

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