Renault launched 2020 campaign, but where's the car?

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Renault Sport warned fans and journalists that it was not going to unveil its actual car at today's team launch, but instead limit itself to some presentations and a few glimpses of its new R.S.20.

Simply put, the new R.S.20 doesn't exist yet. The car hasn't been built, and what was displayed on screens in Paris near the Champs Elysées were just renderings of what is about to come. We'll only see the actual car at the first day of testing at Barcelona, in 7 days time.

In fact, even the livery wasn't ready, so the team's images show an entirely black car, which is a livery it will also use at this year's pre-season winter testing.

In any case, team principal Cyril Abiteboul cut the crap and immediately went down to business, stating the team's aim this season is to get back to fourth in the constructors' championship.

"2020 is above all a pivotal year that marks the end of one cycle and the preparatory phase of another", said Abiteboul. "This year must see us setting the best possible course for the major regulation changes of 2021. The organisational changes made in the second half of 2019 are with this firmly in mind.

"A great opportunity is on the horizon with the technical and sporting regulation changes and we must anticipate the chance and make sure that we are fully ready to seize it. This type of challenge is motivating as it represents the first opportunity since our return in 2016 to build a fully-integrated car from a blank page.

"For the coming season, which starts next week in Barcelona, we must respect the three priorities identified during the off-season: reliability from the get-go; ensure a high level of development very early in the season and have a good conversion rate on track. However, we also need to regain confidence and reinforce team spirit to get the best from everyone, and to maximise our chances each race weekend during this unprecedented long and challenging season.

"Taking back fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship remains the objective over a season that will be more hotly-contested than ever."

Of course, everything was about introducing the team's new driver line-up, or rather, half of that is new. Daniel Ricciardo embarks on his second season with the yellows (or is it all-blacks now?) and is joined by Esteban Ocon, after the youngster completed 2019 at the sidelines as Mercedes AMG F1's reserve driver.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said "the coming season is revitalised by the arrival of Esteban, who brings with him fresh energy. Both he and Daniel are both exceptionally motivated. Esteban returns to a seat after a year out and wants to show he deserves to race in F1. You can see the hunger in his eyes.

"Daniel has a year of experience with the team and can see its motivation. We need this kind of push. F1 needs everyone at the top of their game and having two drivers spurring everyone on is an immense motivation tool for the entire team and a source of pride for the whole of Groupe Renault."

Eventually, some shots of Renault's new contender were released, strategically not showing the barge board area, the side of the sidepods or the front wing and nose cone. This should be surprising of course, given that Renault is expected to do quite an overhaul at the front after many of its 2019 problems originated from front a lack of front end stability.

What is clear though is that the team seems to have gone for a Mercedes-like nose cone, judging from the narrowing bodywork at the front bulkhead. But for more of that, we'll have to just wait another 7 days.