Since Daniel Ricciardo announced his decision to switch from Red Bull Racing to the Renault F1 Team, a spotlight has shone on the Enstone based French manufacturer. Renault have been involved with Formula 1 since 1977 in various forms and on Wednesday the Renault F1 Team became the fourth team to unveil their 2019 livery and the third team to reveal their new car ahead of the 2019 Formula One Season...but they certainly enjoyed building the anticipation up for the fans.
Enstone itself is steeped in Formula One history having been home to Benetton, Lotus Renault GP and the Lotus F1 Team previously. Therefore, as the Renault F1 Team is now its resident, this was the perfect location to hold the unveiling this morning with the leading lines: 'from strength to strength, building on the success of each year. From 9th, to 6th, to 4th. From new beginnings, to a new era. Here starts our 2019 season.' Along with the twitter hashtag - #RSspirit.
Prior to the Instagram/YouTube/twitter simultaneous launch, fans were treated to an image of Nico Hulkenburg taking a photograph of Daniel Ricciardo - both in full racing overalls. Such an image could be taken as a metaphor of the media focus being shifted solely on Ricciardo or it could be seen as a jovial light hearted scene showing mutual respect between the two and the start of a close friendship. Many fans would certainly hope for the latter seeing how the way Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen had such a great friendship last season was definitely a highlight of the year.
Then the first video was released just after 11:30am GMT, high octane guitar riffs over the top of action packed scenes of previous Renault F1 Team entries on track as well as jovial moments between the team. However, no sign of the car just yet. There were though many amusing comments from fans online of 'have you forgotten the car?' and 'Are Nico and Daniel running this year instead?'
Would the 'anticipation' for the launch backfire?
At 11:55am...the images were released. No noticeable colour changes but a very cool looking front wing. Anticipation is whetted and fans were excited. Not due to the look but due to the drivers.
Renault F1 Team’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has previously shared his thoughts on the RS19 saying: “The gains that we will be making on the engine are much bigger than we have ever done in a winter, much bigger, and the gains that we are currently doing in the wind tunnel are much bigger than we have ever done."
The 2019 Renault F1 Team challenge will be undertaken by Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenburg and the raw talent these two have at their hands makes a truly mouthwatering prospect. If indeed the 2019 regulations lead to closer wheel to wheel racing, then there will be a great expectatio for Ricciardo to pull off many a bold trademark late braking maneuver into a corner and who knows what that could lead to.
Renault has shown great strides in recent years and this is supported by the fact they claimed 6th place in the 2017 Constructor’s Championship (57 points) and more than doubled this amount to 122 points the following season reaching 4th place in the 2018 Constructor’s Championship along with the title of ‘Best of the rest’. It remains to be seen whether the RS19 will maintain 4th place in 2019 or even better it.
Upon announcing his switch to the Renault F1 Team last season, Ricciardo said ‘I’m going with an open mind and a full heart. Nobody has a crystal ball, or can predict the future or the results of my decision, but nonetheless a decision was made. ‘
This time next week, we will be a step closer to seeing how wise a decision that was; either way you can be sure Daniel Ricciardo will have the biggest smile in the paddock one way or the other. Many a fan is certainly smiling at the beautiful (albeit very similar) black and yellow livery unveiled today.