ROB LAD­BROOK

“Was Re­nault’s launch much of a launch?”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Full marks Re­nault, but then you get a de­duc­tion for that liv­ery…

The full marks come for sheer ef­fort. In an age of dig­i­tal car launches when Twit­ter, Face­book and the in­ter­web-u-net get you global cov­er­age within sec­onds, teams have grad­u­ally es­chewed the tra­di­tional For­mula 1 launch event.

This year is the worst by far. No­body is do­ing one, with ev­ery team plan­ning to ei­ther post out a ren­der­ing of its new car, or sim­ply push it into the Barcelona pit lane. It’s not as fun as it used to be. When cars were un­veiled in the­atres, town squares, or even the Bond vil­lain-es­que grandeur of the Mclaren Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre. There was pageantry and pas­sion. Yes they cost time and money, but so does the end­less cy­cle of F1.

Now no­body does it. No­body that is, ex­cept Re­nault Sport F1 Team.

But then was Re­nault’s event much of a launch? Kevin Mag­nussen’s ap­point­ment in place of Pas­tor Mal­don­ado was leaked weeks in ad­vance. We all knew. It was sim­ply a mat­ter of see­ing the Dane in the black and yel­low over­alls to make it of­fi­cial. Bri­ton Jolyon Palmer was signed and sorted.

All we were wait­ing for was the car, and that liv­ery… sadly that liv­ery never re­ally ar­rived. In­stead we got a shiny black car with less shiny bits at the rear and a few yel­low flashes. Re­nault boss Car­los Ghosn de­scribed it as “el­e­gant”, the in­ter­net ar­gued back with “plain dull”.

What makes it worse is the car that wore it was the 2015 model. Not a 2016 car. Then, when ques­tioned why the car was ba­si­cally just black, Ghosn added: “The liv­ery may change for the sea­son. But it will still be el­e­gant.”

So to sum up Re­nault’s launch. New team name [give them that at least], two driv­ers we al­ready knew about – but we’re at least ex­cited about, and an old car with a plain liv­ery that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to change any­way. It says some­thing when our sis­ter ti­tle F1 Rac­ing stirs up more in­ter­est with a mocked up graphic on its cover!

For all the ku­dos Re­nault has earned by ac­tu­ally hold­ing a launch, it loses pretty much all of it for it be­ing in­com­plete. Let’s have a new car, a liv­ery that took some ef­fort and imag­i­na­tion, and at least one sur­prise along the way please.

What the French firm is do­ing well though is look­ing af­ter the next gen­er­a­tion of driv­ers. The an­nounce­ment of the Re­nault Sport Academy is a great thing. De­signed to help nur­ture the best tal­ent from Re­nault’s F1 feeder classes, it’s an­other gen­uine way of bring­ing driv­ers through the barely ajar F1 door.

Schemes like this are hugely im­por­tant for the fu­ture of F1 as a tal­ent-rich sport.

have done a year in sin­gle-seaters, Ja­son Plato has, Andy Pri­aulx has and so on.

“It al­lows you to get to grips with slicks and is of ben­e­fit later in your ca­reer. Clios do not ex­cite me as much and I think this is a good way to try and get my name out there.

“I tested with the team last year and got on re­ally well with them and I loved the car. I also tested with Fortec, but with Ja­mun it’s the only car they run so they can spend more time on it.

“I’ve got the mo­men­tum from win­ning the Ginetta Ju­nior ti­tle. I re­ally en­joyed the Ginet­tas but they were a bit un­pre­dictable. The F4 car is a car that does what you want it to do.”

Caro­line won’t com­plete any fur­ther test­ing un­til next month but doesn’t think his lack of track time will hurt him as he was on the pace straight­away when he first drove the car.

The Ja­mun name will re­turn to MSA For­mula this year af­ter the team raced as MBM in 2015 with Jack Bar­low and Toby Sow­ery com­plet­ing par­tial cam­paigns.

Team man­ager James Mundy said: “We are de­lighted to have fi­nally put this deal to­gether. We have been de­ter­mined to get Jamie in our car for the 2016 sea­son ever since we first tested him. His raw speed and nat­u­ral tal­ent is some­thing we haven’t seen for some time. It’s a great feel­ing to get that buzz back.”

Clio move was turned down for sin­gle-seaters

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