JANUARY 27, 2002
Renault launches the new R202
Renault took the rather strange decision to give the French TV station TF1 exclusivity for its launch in Paris on Sunday and the car had been shown on the television almost an hour before the assembled members of the world's media were given a glimpse of the new car.
The launch which took place at the massive Renault Technocentre at Guyancourt (just around the corner from Prost) and the launch was clearly intended to link the company's F1 program with the company's technology and the launch of the new Vel Satis model.
The aim was also intended to push the point that Renault is a 100% French team although this of course does not taken into account the fact that most of the people working at Enstone are British. The R202 is a fairly conservative car, based on last year's Benetton to look at and a lot of work has gone into improving reliability as last year the team struggled to finish races. A lot of work has gone into aerodynamics with thee team having four 50% models used in the Enstone tunnel and in the Fondmetal Technologies windtunnel in Italy. The work is going on 18 hours a day, every day.
The team was keen to stress the close relationship between Renault Sport in France and in Britain with weekly meetings to discuss the development of the car and future projects.
"We must not be arrogant," Renault Sport boss Patrick Faure said. "We will start in the middle of the grid and if we can we want to be as close to the top teams as possible by the end the year."
The new car features much more Mild Seven blue than had been expected with the nose, side pods and rear wing all in the Japanese company's powder blue color scheme although the launch being in France meant that there could be no badging. The car did however have backing from Elf and new sponsor Hanjin
Louis Schweitzer the boss of Renault said that he hoped that the team would be "fourth in the World Championship this year with some podiums" but added that "next year I expect more."