Renault were apparently on the right track with their last V10 powered car, the Renault R25 which Fernando Alonso steered to his first world championship title. One year later the competition was even tougher but the first ever V8 championship was again for Alonso in the Renault R27.
This time around, the Renault R27 is in the house and proves to be a thorough evolution of the successful earlier concepts. A little comparison with last year's R26 gives a bit more information:
The vertical lines indicate where positions of some elements have or have not changed. It is very remarkable how much confidence Renault have in their proven technology and research.
- a. Just like on about every car of 2007 and 2006, the new contender has small winglets just ahead of the flip ups. They have proven to be so efficient that there was no need to change them at all. Both the position as well as the design of the winglets itself have not been changed over the course of the winter.
- b / c. Similarly, the chimneys are identical in their position and shape, although this time around the chimneys were not closed during the launch contrary to last year (3). Over the course of the 2006 season though, the chimneys were opened or closed depending on the cooling need. The aperture does therefore not necessarily mean anything.
- d. This crossline points out where Renault have put their aerodynamic effort in. Most of the focus (as hardly anything else has been changed between the last race of the R26 and the launch of the R27) went into the design of seemingly incredible sidepod inlets. The openings of cooling air were shaped more to the dimensions of the frontal pod area in order to reduce air resistance in that area.
Please also note the frontal shape of the sidepod. While it was still relatively boxy on the R26 it is now designed more to the example of Red Bull's RB2.
- e. The front wing has been modified slightly compared to the initial version of 2006. It is however likely that this wing too has not been changed compared to the latest version of 2006.
Secondly there are some points that require attention:
- 1. The most obvious change with this car is the integration of the sidepod panel with the mirrors. After Ferrari indroduced a new position of the mirrors on their Ferrari 248 F11, Renault and Red Bull have built upon a similar idea in their 2007 cars.
- 2. The exhaust system was revised for this car too as it is now similar to the McLaren Mercedes MP4-21.
- 3. The chimney actually had a cooling opening at the launch of the car, contrary to what was present at the launch of the R26.
- 4. Although hardly visible in this image, the area behind the driver's head appears to be lowered slightly to improve aerodynamics at the rear of the car.
- 5. Just like the push rod in the front suspension, some materials were replaced in the rear suspension. More are now manufactured or covered with a metalloid material instead of carbon fibre.
Another innovative solution on the sidepods is the continuous line between the pod vanes and the rear flip ups. This acts like a stabiliser of air flowing around the sidepod.
Possibly the most important technical novelty in the car is the instantaneous gear change gearbox (IGC). This technology has already been run by other teams, but will make its track debut in Melbourne. The unit has already completed thousands of kilometres of reliability running in a hybrid car, with promising results. The new gearbox will result in a good performance gain, especially compared to those teams that already ran a similar device during 2006.