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Renault reveals launch date

NEWS STORY
15/01/2020

Renault has become the fourth team to officially confirm its launch date.

Hot on the heels of Ferrari (11 February), McLaren (13th) and Toro Rosso (14th), Renault has announced that it will take the wraps off its new car and driver line-up in Paris on Wednesday, 12 February, the same day that Red Bull is rumoured to be revealing its 2020 contender.

While the 2019 engine was an improvement on previous seasons the chassis was actually a step backwards, with reliability also an issue.

The retirement of both cars within a lap of one another in Bahrain, both suffering the same MHU-K issue, a clear sign that the French team still had some way to go.

As the team focussed on reliability rather than pace it began to lose ground, and the numerous upgrades throughout the season barely helped.

Like Haas, the RS19 appeared to have the tiniest of operating windows, and was only truly competitive at low-downforce tracks like Montreal and Monza. Race pace was usually better than single lap pace, but poor performance on Saturday afternoons meant the team was already at a disadvantage come Sunday.

This season, Daniel Ricciardo, in the second and final year of his current contract, is joined by Esteban Ocon, a line-up which many feel could prove fractious should the Frenchman remain as determined and unyielding as he was alongside Sergio Perez at Force India.

In many ways, 2020 could be a make or break season for the French team, for at a time there is continued speculation over its future in the sport, team confidence was hardly helped when the parent company's interim CEO admitted that its participation in F1 is under review.

A sign of the team's confidence will be whether its officials and drivers are prepared to make predictions about the coming season at the launch.

Last year the order "do not comment on the following at this point in time" was given, the "following" being: "Do not let yourself be drawn on the number of points we want/expect to score," personnel were instructed. "Do not state we are targeting podiums, the position we want to finish in the Constructors' Championship (e.g. Fourth / third) or our aim in classification in the drivers' championship".

Other topics that were verboten, included: "Engine power in kW. Our expected / planned engine evolutions over the season (different specifications etc). Technical details on the chassis (e.g. evolutions on suspension / performance gains) and Aero points we have gained or lost since 2018."

Indeed, it might have been easier to list the topics that could be talked about.

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