Perth’s Daniel Ricciardo once again showed off his signature gleeful smile at Renault F1’s kick-off event on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, at Groupe Renault’s flagship store, L’Atelier Renault. The Australian driving (and smiling) sensation will be competing the 2020 season alongside team mate Esteban Ocon, who replaces Nico Hulkenberg for the number two seat.
However, unlike most Formula One teams’ kick-off events, the French-state owned constructor did not have their machine there at their event. According to F1 team boss and managing director of Renault Sport Racing, Cyril Abiteboul, the absence of the R.S.20 machine was due to the fact that he did not want to present ”fake cars” before they were actually finished.
Instead, the French auto giant revealed digital teasers of their 2020 car ahead of winter testing in Barcelona, and judging by the sneak peek pictures, the pre-season testing dark livery looks brilliant in this author’s opinion. Their 2020 car and livery will be revealed in full, alongside its E-Tech 20 power unit in Spain next week.
“For the coming season, we must respect the three priorities identified during the off-season: reliability from the get-go; ensure a high level of development very early in the season and have a good conversion rate on track. However, we also need to regain confidence and reinforce team spirit to get the best from everyone, and to maximise our chances each race weekend during this unprecedented long and challenging season. 2020 is also a pivotal year that marks the end of one cycle and the preparatory phase of another. This year must see us setting the best possible course for the major regulation changes of 2021. The organisational changes made in the second half of 2019 are with this firmly in mind” said Abiteboul.
Daniel Ricciardo, who enters his second season in black and yellow, had this to say to about the upcoming season. “I’m looking forward to blending into the team better on the back of having a full season behind us - so things are going to be easier in that sense. I learnt a lot about myself and obviously a lot about the team. One of the most important learnings for me was that it’s not just about having the smartest guy in the Formula 1 paddock - you need every individual across the team getting the most out of themselves. With the people I work closest with it’s about trying to find a way they work best, trying to help them be their best selves, and then also figuring out where I can perform the best on the day. I’ve enjoyed this experience so far and building something with Renault.”
Furthermore, Shanghai-native Guanyu Zhou has much to look forward to in 2020 as well. The 20 year-old Formula 2 Rookie of 2019 will be taking on the role as test driver after he was promoted from development driver in 2019.
Winter testing is slated to kick-off on February 19th with the first race in Melbourne to begin in middle of March.