Renault has unveiled its new R31 challenger to the press in Valencia's pitlane, ahead of the three-day pre-season test which begins at the Spanish venue tomorrow. The car, which carries black and gold livery following its deal with Lotus Group, is the fourth 2011 car to have been launched this week. The car was fired up for the first time at the team's Enstone factory last week, and Vitaly Petrov is schedule to drive the car for the first time on Tuesday before Robert Kubica takes over for the last two days. Renault has opted for a pull-rod suspension for the rear end, with the structure under car above the tea tray that appears quite radical compared to rival cars.
Lotus Renault team boss Eric Boullier says:
"With the arrival of a long-term partner in Group Lotus, we have the financial stability to build on these strong foundations and ensure a very competitive future. That is incredibly motivating for everybody in the team and gives us all the belief that we can continue to compete at the sharp end of the grid with the strongest teams in the sport."
"With the R31, work started before the R30 had even done a single race. In 2010 we achieved a very high rate of development and the car that finished the season was two seconds per lap quicker than the car we had at the first race. During the winter, that same determined approach to the workload has continued, which is a testament to the spirit and commitment of the people we have in this team. Yes, the workload is huge at this time of year, but if we keep our heads down and maximise the winter test sessions, I'm pretty sure we will have a strong start to 2011."
"We live to race and our goal is to win. It's the core of our philosophy. All the hard work over the last twelve months has been focussed on delivering a big improvement for 2011, and that means we should be more competitive than last year. Will we be stronger than our competitors? Hard to say, but based on the efforts of everybody here, I feel we deserve it."