31 Jan 2008
R28 designed for optimum tyre performance
Renault say their 2008 car, the R28, represents a shift in design philosophy from its predecessor, aimed at extracting optimum performance from the Bridgestone tyres that all competitors have used since the start of 2007.
Renault made no secret of the fact that last year they struggled with the enforced transition to the Japanese companys rubber, having enjoyed championship-winning success with Michelin the two previous seasons.
In response to the issues they faced with the R27, its successor features revised weight distribution and a new aerodynamic concept to match, which has been enabled by the introduction of a zero-keel front suspension mounting.
"2007 was a very poor year by our standards, commented technical director Bob Bell at the R28s official unveiling in Paris on Thursday. For 2008, there are high expectations inside and outside the team, and it is down to us to give the drivers a competitive car. We have put the problems from 2007 behind us and in terms of the car design, we have looked at the problem afresh.
Bell labelled the R28 "much less evolutionary" than its predecessor, with other changes including revisions to the monocoque and bodywork to improve the packaging of the car's mechanical systems.
Under the skin, the standardised ECU (SECU) and a new long-lifegearbox - both requirements of 2008 regulation changes - represent the biggest changes. And as with all new designs, the team have also worked hard to improve stiffness and remove weight throughout the car, to provide maximum set- up adjustability from circuit to circuit.
"The transition to the SECU was a big workload, and remains so," explained Rob White, the teams deputy managing director (engines). "The unit itself is the most obvious change for the new season, but there are many new software tools and programmes that accompany it. We have had to adapt to them all, and learn how to get the most from them.
While we are not allowed to develop the engine itself, there remains much to do to assure its reliability and in-car performance. These V8's remain complicated and sophisticated: we must be vigilant about component supply and quality, and concerning changes in the way the engine is used in the car. We are determined to return to the front, and the team has worked tirelessly towards this goal for many months."
As in 2007, Renault will also supply engines to Red Bull Racing this season.