The start of a new Formula One season is always a time of great anticipation. For Renault, this is particularly true in 2010 as it signals a new era for the team after the scandal of the previous one. With a new structure in place, new drivers, and new colours, the team feels there is a lot to be excited about and much to look forward to in the year ahead.
Eric, how’ve you been settling in as the new Team Principal of Renault F1?
“I’ve received a very warm welcome from everybody. Of course, the last four or so weeks have been very busy for the entire team, but I’ve been impressed with the motivation and work ethic of the factory.
“Now that the new season is approaching, we must keep focused and push hard to deliver a strong performance from the first race. For me, the human side of the job is by far the most important.”
Has everything gone smoothly with the new car build?
“On the whole the car build has gone to plan. Of course, there are always some issues to overcome during the winter, especially as the design office has taken some bold decisions with the design of the car. But, as I have said, everything has come together. We’ve hit our deadlines.”
The R30 features a classic yellow and black livery. Are you pleased to see the return of these iconic Renault colours?
“For me it’s definitely a good decision and I think the car looks stunning – it’s eye-catching and reminds people of Renault’s heritage in the sport. It reminds me of when I was a kid, watching Arnoux, Prost… It also sends out a clear message about Renault’s commitment to Formula One.”
Robert Kubica – what’s he like to work with?
“We are of course delighted to have Robert on board as he is clearly one of the best drivers on the grid. He’s extremely quick, experienced, and is a real fighter who never gives up, which fits well with our attitude at Renault. Robert’s approach is helping push the team forward because he’s just as hungry for success as we are.”
It’s early days in the season, but what objectives do you have in mind for 2010?
“We clearly want to be back at the front and capable of challenging for podiums as soon as possible. It would be too optimistic to say we want to be there from race one, but the progress and simulations we have seen over the winter are encouraging. We also have the resources at Enstone to deliver good development steps during the season so that we continue to improve from race to race. The aim, then, is to fight regularly for the podium in the last part of the season.”
Talk us through the resources that will support this aggressive development programme?
“Most importantly we have just completed a considerable upgrade to the wind tunnel. This will play a major role in our aero development throughout the year. We also have a modern CFD facility, which complements the work done in the wind tunnel (and vice-versa). It’s still a relatively new technology, but it’s now starting to reach a level of maturity and is giving us the results we always expected from it.
“There’s also the mechanical design team which has done an excellent job with the R30 and it will continue to feed upgrades to the car during the season.”
How do you feel about the first race of the season in Bahrain?
“It will be our first chance to see where we stand compared with our competitors in real racing conditions. We can go there safe in the knowledge that the entire team has put in an enormous effort over the winter and is determined to convert all that hard work into a strong performance on the racetrack.
“I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all the team members for their efforts over the last few months. I’m convinced that they’ll pay off on the racetrack.”