2020 is a significant year for Renault F1. While the team was ‘launched’ last week, we only got our first look of the car at pre-season testing in Spain. There were some online teasers but the R.S.20 made its public debut when it took off in an all-black livery to do many many laps around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The team’s official twitter handle did say that the final car will feature a more yellow livery as usual once the season starts in Australia next month. At the launch event, when asked about the absence of the car, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul commented that it would be a waste of money to have a fake show car. “If your team is on schedule, you don’t have a car waiting here for a couple of hours or days. Your car is built and going straight to Barcelona. That is an optimised schedule” he added while interacting with members of the media.
In its all-black livery, it is hard to see any significant aero changes over the R.S.19. While the team did end up finishing behind McLaren, a customer team, it wasn’t a bad year as such. The car always showed potential for points finishes but it was plagued by reliability issues at the start of the season. Renault is aiming for fourth place in the constructor’s title again before the all-new F1 regulations kick in for the 2021 season. For 2020, the R.S.20 will be powered by the new E-Tech 20 power unit which seems to pack good pace on the basis of lap times from Day 1 of pre-season testing.
While I was sad to see Nico Hulkenberg lose his seat in Formula 1 after all these years, I’m now interested to see how his replacement will announce his return to the grid. Esteban Ocon is best remembered for some big fuck ups during his tenure at Force India, mainly crashing into his teammate. The Frenchman’s new teammate is somewhat used to that and is widely regarded as a much better racer. It will be Daniel Ricciardo’s second year with the Renault works team and he will undoubtedly be hoping for a more capable car this year to aim for a podium result or two. Will the two hit it off? Or will we see the team struggle as its driver lineup settles in?
Explore the test-livery R.S.20 in the gallery below: