Williams weren’t the only team showing off a new car this morning as Renault too took the wraps off their 2009 challenger in Portugal. The Enstone-based team had both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. available to do the honours, and as the R29 was unveiled, a new livery could be seen dressing the 2009 car. Piquet Jr. took the machine out a for a few installation laps in the morning, but most of the talk centred around the team’s use of a shark fin engine cover.
With the new regulations comes an adherence to no aerodynamic winglets adorning the bodies of the cars, the intention being to reduce grip and therefore improve racing. Whether or not this will work remains to be seen, but Renault believe the shark fin engine cover is within the rules. I think they’re right as the part doesn’t generate downforce, instead the augmented cover provides stability under braking and entering corners.
Also top of the talking list at Renault’s end of the pitlane was the striking new livery. Renault have incorporated more of their company colours into the mix and eradicated the dark blue that we saw on the R27 and R28. With title sponsor’s ING orange and a base colour of white, the new red of Total makes the livery stand out. The nose section of the car has also caused a bit of stir, perhaps because of it’s colour the front appears to be quite chunky.
Despite the looks though, Fernando Alonso will be hoping that the R29 can carry on where the R28 left off, the Spaniard having won two races last year in a car that really wasn’t near the overall pace of the McLaren and Ferrari. With two world championships in his pocket though, Alonso knows how to develop and nurture a car into a winning machine.
Photos © RenaultF1/LAT Photographic.