Renault aim to beat Mercedes in China

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After a stronger than expected start to 2010 Renault hope further upgrades to their R30 in China will allow them to challenge Mercedes.

Technical director James Allison said:

I think we can [beat Mercedes]because at the moment they’re only just ahead of us on qualifying pace, whereas we seemed to have the edge on race pace in Malaysia. We will have more updates in China, including a new floor and an alternative front wing. Although this might not be enough to get ahead of Mercedes in qualifying trim, it should move us closer to their tail. And if we can jump ahead of them at the start of a race, I’m confident we have the pace to stay ahead.
James Allison

He said the team has accelerated its speed of aerodynamic development largely thanks to its Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) programme:

We have made no secret of our intention to develop our car aggressively during 2010. Aggressive development means having effective ideas and getting them to the track as fast as possible. Our current rate of aerodynamic development is at an all-time high; it’s at least double that of last year. The factory is also pulling out all the stops to get our ideas to the car in around half the time compared with last year.

[CFD is] a fundamental component of any aero department nowadays and without it we simply couldn’t develop the car at our current pace. At the moment, CFD-derived projects are providing more than half of the aerodynamic gains that eventually end up on the car.
James Allison

While lead driver Robert Kubica has the silver cars in his sights, team mate Vitaly Petrov will be happy just to finish a race for the first time in 2010:

It has been frustrating not to finish the races, especially retiring so early in Bahrain and Australia, which has limited my experience. At the moment I only know what it feels like to complete half a race in terms of managing the tyres and adapting to the changing fuel load so that’s not ideal.
Vitaly Petrov

His car’s roll-hoop was damaged when it was recovered following his spin in the Australian Grand Prix and the team had to find a way of repairing it in between the fly-away rounds. As the car couldn’t be sent back to the factory in time the team back at base instead produced a special repair kit which was flown out to the race team.

The R30s are also awaiting a re-spray when they return to the factory following this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, and sharp-eyed fans may be able to spot a few chips in the usually pristine paintwork.

Renault are currently fifth in the constructors’ championship, 14 points behind Mercedes. Kubica is seventh in the drivers’ championship, nine points behind leader Felipe Massa. But already rumours have begun linking Kubica to a Ferrari drive taking Massa’s place alongside Fernando Alonso in 2011.

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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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21 comments on “Renault aim to beat Mercedes in China”

  1. Kubica and Alonso would be a very interesting team.

    1. The Genuine Jim
      12th April 2010, 14:26

      Indeed it would – two moody gits in the same team would make managing things a bit tricky. But I read Ferrari are keen to re-sign Massa anyway.

    2. would, but don’t underestimate Felipe’s relationship with the team, he is not only a fast driver, but part of the Ferrari “family” in the same way Michael Schumacher was back in his day. Dominicali won’t want to lose Massa to another team, even if Kubica is a few tenths faster. Alonso may have out-paced him in these first few races, but the Brazilian is a strong contender for the championship this year, and it only takes alonso to make a medium-sized mistake for Felipe to overtake him in the long run.

      1. …as he did Raikkonnen in 2008 if u remember…

    3. the worse i could expect 2 drivers i hate on my team but im certain that the both r excelent drivers

  2. I’m intrigued as to how exactly the roll-hoop became damaged….

    1. It says in the article “His car’s roll-hoop was damaged when it was recovered following his spin in the Australian Grand Prix” so it sounds like the marshals were a bit heavy handed when lifting it out perhaps?

      1. Given the forces the roll hoop is designed and tested to take it’s difficult to see how the marshals could be that heavy handed unless they dropped another car on it!…. curious.

    2. The roll hoop is designed to take compression from above and withstand that.

      When the car was lifted and swung around by the crane it’s possible something small could snap because the force is in the opposite direction to the “planned” direction.

  3. I wish Kubica will take back Renault to the top like Alonso did in 2005 and 2006.

  4. I’ve been truly impressed with the rate of development Renault have pulled off this year. On what looks like last years car. Certainly there winning the development war. I wonder how they’ll do in Spain though, last year we didn’t quite realise how abysmal the Mp4 24 was till Spain, McLarens furious rate of development in the fly aways masked that, now Renault clearly don’t have that kind of car, an also have a very impressive diffuser an outwash front wing, thought to be where the performance on that car is comming from but how will the team cope with the leap in performance traditional in Spain?

  5. ‘Kubica is seventh in the drivers’ championship, nine points behind leader Fernando Alonso’

    sorry keith i know i like to point out your mistake! :)
    9 points behind leader massa of course.

    1. Oops – have changed it.

  6. Kubica moved to Italy when he was 13 years old. Speaks Italian well, has a lot of funs there. . .

  7. Jhonnie Siggie
    12th April 2010, 17:37

    Nice hope Renault but I don’t think so. They will be looking at the back of Merc (if not Force India) for the remainder of the season. They won’t be anywhere close in terms of points as Petrov is unlikely to start scoring heavily anytime soon. Also, this guy’s statement implies that Merc’s performance is somehow static and they can just catch them. While he is targeting Merc, they are in turn targeting the charging bulls.

  8. Haven’t read wether Mercedes will be bringing updates to China, but McLaren did say they have several updates.

    It’s just so silly how all teams keep claiming they will move forward when in reality they all simply move forward at the same pace.

    1. I always think the same thing when I read these comments. They all make comments to that effect regularly as if they’re the only team developing, and all the other teams are just napping.

  9. The Renault team have a lot of talent ! they can do it
    Kubica is a great driver —-

  10. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Kubica’s last two races. He seems to be getting much more out of the car as Alonso seemed to do and wish him all the best. If they can get ahead off Mercedes then I imagine there may well soon be some restructuring at Mercedes…

  11. I hope Kubica does not join Alonso at Ferrari (Massa is just now getting to signing another 2-3 years) but instead takes Renault (or LADA?) to new hights, at least race wins but better even a championship.

  12. Massa still the best :D

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