Renault launch their F1 season with no car - but plenty of resolve

12 February 2020 - 20:23 By Reuters
A digital rendering of the still-to-be-launched Renault RS20.
A digital rendering of the still-to-be-launched Renault RS20.
Image: Renault

Renault held a Formula One launch without a car on Wednesday - but with plenty of optimism that 2020 would be better than last season, when they dropped from fourth to fifth overall.

Smiling Australian Daniel Ricciardo joined new teammate Esteban Ocon, returning to the grid after a year out, and team management in emphasising they were on the right track for recovery.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul said the car is yet to be finished and is still in pieces - a week before testing starts in Barcelona, Spain. In its absence, glimpses of details were shown on a big screen.

He denied that the team was running late, however. "If anything, we are much more on schedule than we were last year," he said.

"If you optimise your schedule, you don't have a car waiting here for a couple of hours or days. The car is [being] built and going straight to Barcelona.

"On that basis, our only option is to have fake cars - show cars - altered to look like this year's car. For me that's a waste of money and people will always interpret based on that. So rather than that, no car.

"For anyone interested in the car, look at the pictures next week."

Ricciardo, who joined last year from Red Bull, said he had not yet seen the finished product. "I haven't yet had that moment," he said.

"Every year you have it, whether it's your first year in Formula One or your 10th, when you see the car for the first time and you see your name on it. There's certainly a nice little warm, fuzzy feeling - but I haven't got that yet."

Ricciardo has not stood on the podium since leaving Red Bull, where he won seven races, but he hopes this will change.

"I am craving to take my shoe off, for sure. It's been a while," he grinned, referring to his trademark "Shoey" celebration, where he drinks champagne from his race boot on the podium.

"I am optimistic ... I feel like this year there's a bit more stability within the structure. So that, on top of what we learnt last year, in my mind I'm like, 'OK, it has to be better.'

"We have to move forward and we have the tools and the equipment. I do believe we will get the fourth place back. Will it come easy? No. But I think if we do everything we say we're going to do, then it's going to happen. We'll get there."