The Renault R25 was launched at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum on February 1st, and the team came out fighting. Chairman Patrick Faure said gaining podium finishes would no longer be enough and race wins were a must. Renault scored one victory last season, at Monaco, but the team wants to be up there challenging Ferrari in 2005.
"Since Renault's return to Formula One in 2002, we have set ambitious objectives," said Faure. "We have achieved them each time, and I believe we can deliver on our promises once again. We want to be fighting for the world title in 2005-6, which means we must be among the teams who can compete with Ferrari on an equal footing this year."
The R25 has a new integrated electronic system and the new engine, the RS25, has a lower centre of gravity and is designed for reliability. Technical director Bob Bell described the philosophy of the new car as one of "evolution", and much as the other teams, the focus has been on optimising stiffness and weight reduction. Another new feature of the R25 is its "v-keel" front suspension, which Bell believes will be an advantage.
"In recent years, we have seen two schools of thought evolve in front suspension design: the traditional single keel, with a single front lower wishbone, and the twin keel, which brings a measurable aerodynamic gain but can also have a structural penalty outweighing the benefit," he explained.
"We believe the v-keel is a very elegant solution to this dilemma, as it combines the virtues of both systems: we have obtained an aerodynamic advantage for minimal structural penalty, while maintaining our preferred mechanical configuration for the front suspension."
The development of the R25 was shared between Enstone in the UK and Viry-Chatillon in France. At Enstone, technical director Bob Bell and chief designer Tim Densham worked on minimising the performance loss incurred by the new regulations. At Viry, the RS25 powerplant was overseen by engine technical director Rob White and project leader Axel Plasse.
"In Formula One, you always need to be moving forwards, questioning your approach and getting better," said managing director Flavio Briatore. "Our two technical centres are in perfect synergy and this is reflected in the engine-chassis integration of the R25. The Renault Technocentre has also continued to provide valuable support in key technical areas. The team has done a very impressive job."
Renault's driver line-up for 2005, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella, is anticipated to be one of the stronger pairings on the grid. "The combination of Fernando and Giancarlo offers a blend of youth and experience, and they share the same competitive and aggressive attitude on the track," Briatore commented. "During the 2005 campaign, it will be key to score points regularly with both cars. We have high hopes for our driver line-up."
"Fernando will reach his peak this year, while Giancarlo is at the top of his game. He is quick and, most importantly, a finisher. This is a key factor: being able to fight for the world title means systematically collecting points with two cars."
It's Alonso's third season with Renault and, naturally, he is looking for wins. "Mentally, I am stronger and even better prepared," said the Spaniard. "We need to be quick during the race weekends and fighting at the front of the field for podiums and wins. It will be a long season, and it is a big job to be competitive against our rivals, but I am confident in the work of the team during the winter."
For Fisichella, it's a return to a team he previously raced with three years ago. "Since I was last at the team the ambitions have changed: Renault are in Formula One to win the world championship and it is a privilege that they have chosen me to be part of it," he remarked. "It is important to feel they have confidence in me and from my point of view, I am excited to be in a top team that I know can win races."
Renault F1 R25 technical specifications
Chassis: Moulded carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb composite monocoque, manufactured by the Renault F1 Team and designed for maximum strength and stiffness with minimum weight. Engine installed as a fully-stressed member.
Front suspension: Carbon fibre top and bottom wishbones operate an inboard titanium rocker via a pushrod system. This is connected to a torsion bar and damper units which are mounted at the front of the monocoque.
Rear suspension: Carbon fibre top and bottom wishbones operating vertically-mounted torsion bars and horizontally-mounted damper units mounted on the top of the gearbox casing. Bottom wishbone attached by 'v' keel mounting.
Transmission: Six-speed semi-automatic gearbox with one reverse gear.
Fuel system: Kevlar-reinforced rubber fuel cell provides reduced risk of fire and is mounted behind cockpit in chassis monocoque.
Cooling system: Separate oil and water radiators located in the car's sidepods and cooled using airflow from the car's forward motion.
Electrical: Integrated chassis/engine electronics and software co-developed by Renault F1 Team and Magneti Marelli.
Braking system: Carbon discs and pads (Hitco); calipers by AP Racing.
Cockpit: Removable driver's seat made of anatomically formed carbon composite, with six-point harness seat belt. Steering wheel integrates gear change and clutch paddles.
Car dimensions and weight
Front track: 1,450mm
Rear track: 1,400mm
Wheel base: 3,100mm
Overall length: 4,800mm
Overall height: 950mm
Overall width: 1,800mm
Overall weight: 605kg including driver, camera and ballast
72° 'V' angle with optimum integration in the new R25 chassis.
Atmospheric 3-litre V10 engine.
Mass optimised for the required reliability, with a gain relative to the RS24.
Reliability of more than 1400km with a performance gain relative to the RS24.
98 % of parts are new.