Renault launch the R28 in Paris
By Pablo Elizalde Thursday, January 31st 2008, 13:36 GMT
The Renault F1 team officially on Thursday launched their new car for the 2008 season, the R28, in an event held in Paris.
The car, which made its track debut last week at Valencia in the hands of two-time champion Fernando Alonso, sports the same colours as last year, with ING still the French squad's title sponsor.
Renault, world champions in 2005 and 2006, endured a disappointing season in 2007, finishing down in third place in the standings with just one podium finish.
The team are now aiming to return to the sharp end of the field.
"We expect to see the team back in its normal place, fighting at the front of the field," said F1 Team president Bernand Rey. "This is the target the team has set for the new car. On the technical side, everybody has worked hard to overcome the problems encountered last year.
"On the driver front, Fernando Alonso's return was an important boost. There is optimism inside the team and within Renault."
Alonso is returning to Renault after a troubled season with McLaren. He will be partnered by Brazilian rookie Nelsinho Piquet.
Technical Director Bob Bell said the team have pushed very hard in order to rectify the problems that marred their 2007 season.
"2007 was a very poor year by our standards," he said. "For 2008, there are high expectations inside and outside the team, and it is down to us to give the drivers a competitive car. We have put the problems from 2007 behind us and in terms of the car design, we have looked at the problem afresh.
"The team pushed very hard in all areas, and particularly on the aerodynamics. The front end of the car has come in for special attention with a brand new front wing and the front suspension. The rear end has also been heavily reworked, and we haven't neglected the basics.
"The car ran reliably in its first test, and we made encouraging progress on performance development last week. We are confident that the advances we have seen in the wind tunnel will be reflected on track."
If the estimate is of a difference of one second (at the moment), with hard work, that could be halved by the time the F1 paddock assembles in Melbourne.