Renault, Sauber And Virgin F1 Launch Their 2010 Challengers: The R30, The C29 And The VR-01

The three final big launches, (Mercedes GP, Toro Rosso and Williams all “Launched” their cars on the 1st day of testing, but it was only small and not much to write about…I’ll post pictures though) and Pre-Season testing day 1 will be topics of this post…

Ok, for the new Renault R30, there isn’t much difference to talk about on the outside. The front wing is more detailed but compared to the McLaren and Ferrari, it’s just not that different.

Well, of course the livery is radically changed, below is a picture of the old Renault in 1980. So, they have reverted to their old colour scheme. But the 2010 livery is more wasp like.

Renault have finally announced that Vitaly “Rocket” Petrov, will be driving the No.2 car in 2010. Vitaly has been racing in GP2 since 2006 and in 2009 finished 2nd behind new Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg.

As for Sauber, their new car, the C29 has many changes.

Just like the McLaren MP4-25, the C29 is elongated, sports the shark fin, and and has the higher nose.

In my opinion the livery should be re-designed. (Don’t ask me how it should be though!)  Peter Sauber has said that there should be more sponsor stickers later on.

Ex-McLaren test driver Pedro De La Rosa, says: “At last I can feel like a proper racing driver again. I’ve really missed the competition out on the track. At the same time, though, I’ve learned a lot technically and on the systems side, and now I want to bring that knowledge to the team.”

Virgin F1 also launched their VR-01 on Wednesday. (The 3rd day of testing)

Here is a video of the launch: 

The livery just had to be luminous orange/red didn’t it? Just like Midland and Spyker of 2006 and 2007. To me the aerodynamics looks just like the 2000 Arrows…and I’m not so sure how fast it’s gonna go…it has none of the complex stuff like McLaren/Ferrari/Sauber.

We’ll see by 14th of March won’t we?

As for Pre-Season testing, on Monday, the likes of Rosberg, Barrichello, Schumacher, Paffett, Massa and Kubica all took to the track with their new cars.

Buemi also tried out the new STR5, which is the new 2010 Toro Rosso.

The STR5 is the third team to sport the shark fin this year. Buemi ended up 7th out of 8 drivers with 1:14.762. But he could only do 18 Laps
because of a gearbox problem.

Williams also unveiled their new FW32 for the first time.

Rubens Barrichello was in the seat for day 1 and day 2, Williams have a flat wide nose, and no shark fin…Rubens made 75 Laps with a time of 1:14.449 and ended up 6th out of 8, just ahead of Buemi.

Mercedes GP launched their livery earlier on in the week, but on day 1 of testing they revealed the new Wo1. Nico and Michael took turns in the new car but Schumi beat Nico to it in 3rd with Nico in 4th. Schumi made 40 Laps  and clocked 1:12.947, 
Nico made 39 Laps and clocked 1:13.543.

McLaren were also in Valencia with their test driver Gary Paffett in the seat.

Gary had the opportunity to have first dibs on the MP4-25.

The Brit ended up in 5th, just behind the two Mercedes cars. Gary made 86 Laps and clocked a best time of 1:13.846.

Ferrari are on quick form as Felipe tops the timing sheet on Day 1.

Massa, who returned to an up-to-date F1 car for the first time since his crash in 2009, posted the fastest time of 1:12.574 and made the most laps of the circuit, which was 102.

Although we can’t tell much from the times as we don’t know the fuel loads, Renault seemed pretty slow all day with Kubica in the cockpit.

Robert has changed his helmet design for the new Renault livery. The Pole came 5th, made 69 Laps and clocked a slow time of 1:15.000.

Sauber were in good form, with De La Rosa in the driving seat for Day 1, he managed to set the 2nd quickest time of the day behind the Ferrari of Massa and ahead of the two Mercedes. Pedro made 74 Laps and clocked a best time of 1:12.784.

Unofficial Monday test times from Valencia:
1. Felipe Massa                    Ferrari                 1:12.574     102 Laps
2. Pedro de la Rosa            Sauber                  1:12.784      74  Laps
3. Michael Schumacher   Mercedes GP      1:12.947      40  Laps
4. Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes GP      1:13.543       39  Laps
5. Gary Paffett                      McLaren              1:13.846       86  Laps
6. Rubens Barrichello       Williams               1:14.449       75  Laps
7. Sebastien Buemi             Toro Rosso         1:14.762       18  Laps
8. Robert Kubica                 Renault                1:15.000       69  Laps

Day 2 and 3 are to follow tomorrow with Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Buemi, Kobayashi and Kubica on Day 2 and Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Jaime Alguersuari, De La Rosa and Petrov on Day 3…

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