Posts Tagged ‘Renault’

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I hate Renault

July 8, 2010

Or rather why I hate the Renault UK dealer network.

Not really F1 related this post, but it’s my blog and it’s about the manufacturer behind the F1 team, so i’m writing it anyway.

Just over 5 years ago I brought a Renault Grand Scenic with everything added from a Renault Dealer which unfortunately no longer exists. The car has been great for almost all of its 90,000 miles. I’d recommend it to anyone, in fact a few weeks ago I ordered a new one. However due to the incompetence and ignorance of the Renault dealer nearest to where I now live, I have just cancelled the order and will now be looking at competing makes.

Recently a few things have started to go wrong with the car – keyless entry is intermittent and a few other niggling things. However the biggest fault is the air conditioning sprung a leak. Not through a seal, but one of the pipes split. So 4 days ago I booked the car into CrossRoads Renault in Oxford to have it fixed. They knew the parts needed to be ordered, hence the four day lead time.

This morning having reorganised my day I took the car to the dealer only to be told that when they tried to order the parts yesterday they found they were out of stock at Renault UK and wouldn’t be available for a couple of days. Did they bother to call to let me know, obviously not. They say they left me a message on my mobile, neat trick that one – I don’t have voicemail. Their attitude? Couldn’t give a toss. In fact the monkey behind the desk said ‘what do you want us to do about it. We can’t make the f***ing part’. Well monkey boy, I got on the phone and immediately cancelled the order for the new car. Clearly you didn’t read the memo which told you that the car industry in the UK is still fucked and needs people to buy new cars. You just lost a £24,000 cash sale as I can’t trust your dealership (CrossRoads Renault in Oxford) to do it’s job properly as the staff are incompetent liars.

Clearly I won’t be getting CrossRoads to fix the air conditioning, and unless I can find somewhere else to sort it out today or tomorrow it won’t get done before the German F1 race in 2 weeks as the car is going to be away with me on holiday until then. That’ll mean i’ve got to hire a very expensive ‘cross border’ hire car.

Renault I hate you and your dealer network!

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Day zero in Valencia

January 31, 2010

Iberia eventually got me to Valencia, and even Hertz managed to get me a car after some arguing, but I did end up getting out to the circuit a few minutes late for the Sauber launch. However this did mean that everbody else had buggered off leaving the car in the middle of the track unattended. This gave me the change to get an uncluttered shot of probably the pointiest car i’ve ever seen.

After chewing the cud for an hour or so, catching up with everyone who I haven’t seen since Abu Dhabi all those months ago, it was time to go back to the pit lane to grab a spot for the Renault unvieling.

Things are never quite that simple though. The car which was wheeled out under a billowing black cover had a teeny weeny problem. No Steering. This resulted in the press pack moving a few foot left or a few foot right rather than the car being moved as normally happens. As this was going on the sun was rapidly getting lower in the sky casting our shadows over the car, so time to move again. After a few more tweeks the car was uncovered, and as predicted by many it has Renaults original yellow and black colours. Personally I think it looks like a Jordan from about 10 years ago. What do you think?

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Eric Boullier joins Renault F1 Team as Team Principal

January 5, 2010

The Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce the appointment of Eric Boullier as Team Principal with immediate effect.

With an engineering background, Eric Boullier joins Renault with a wealth of motorsport experience. Having started as a race engineer ten years ago, he moved into management with Team DAMS as Managing Director in 2003 and oversaw their racing operations in various categories including the GP2 Series. The 36-year-old Frenchman also acted as Team Principal for Team France in the A1GP Series between 2007 and 2009.

Speaking at the announcement, Eric Boullier commented: “I am incredibly proud to be joining the Renault F1 Team as Team Principal. Renault is one of the most famous and successful names in motorsport and I look forward to leading the team into the new season. In the past Renault has demonstrated that it is one of the top teams in Formula One and I am sure that with hard work and determination we can challenge at the front once again.”

A selection of photos of Eric Boullier are available for download from our media website: http://renault.latphoto.co.uk/

Eric Boullier key dates
2009 : Gravity Sport Management, CEO
2003-09 : Team DAMS, Managing and Technical Director (GP2 Series, GP2 Asia, FRV6, Formula BMW Europe, Formula Le Mans). Winning Team in GP2 Asia, FRV6 and Formula Le Mans.
2007-09 : A1 Team France, Team Principal. Winning Team in 2007-08.
2002 : Racing Engineering, Chief Engineer (World Series by Renault) Winning Team in 2002
1999-2001 : Team DAMS, Race Engineer (F3000, official team Cadillac 24H du Mans)
1999 : IPSA (Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées), diploma.

Eric Boullier:  “Getting the team back on track”

In what frame of mind was the team when you arrived?
EB : When I started in the job it quickly became clear that the staff’s morale had been affected by the end of the 2009 season and that the last few weeks had been quite challenging. However, the team is now very motivated thanks to the new philosophy that the Renault F1 Team wants to implement and, when it was presented at the factory shortly before Christmas, it was welcomed with applause. Everyone is now refreshed and ready for action.

What will be your day-to-day responsibilities?
EB : I will concentrate solely on the sporting and performance aspects. Bob Bell will oversee the Design Office, Production and the technical development of the car. We have already had a lot of discussions and we think in the same way. I think that we will work well together.

Are you a representative of the new strategic partners of the team?
EB : I have been appointed by Renault F1 Team who stays in charge of all operational aspects of its F1 activity. Of course, representatives of Genii Capital were consulted, but it would be wrong to think of Renault as a two-headed structure that will have two decision-making hubs. This is one team with one structure.

Have you been given a timeframe to prove yourself?
EB : My employers never mentioned this, however I have set myself relatively high objectives. F1 is a dream for an engineer and I wouldn’t want to let this opportunity pass me by. There is no pressure, only the motivation to do the job for which I have been appointed well.

Can you summarise your approach in three words?
EB : Humility, rigorous and openness. For me, the racing is the most important thing above all.

Is your age an advantage?
EB : I like to think so. The team wanted some fresh blood and to open a new chapter. F1 is made of cycles and the shape of tomorrow’s sport is being defined now with a new generation beginning to fill the paddock little-by-little. Ferrari and McLaren have, among others, followed this evolution. And Christian Horner from Red Bull Racing is my age!

What are your objectives for 2010?
EB : It is still a little early to describe them precisely, but my mission is foremost to put the team back on track by concentrating on two main themes. One of my priorities will be to put in place an organisation that flows and is efficient in order for Enstone to work in harmony. Then, for the performance, we must put in place an improved feedback process. It won’t happen in two months, we know that, but it will need to be progressive and solid. Today we have all the means to reach this objective. The budget is fixed, 60% of the wind tunnel has been upgraded and our high-tech CFD centre is now in full swing. So there’s everything to play for.

As CEO of Gravity Sport Management, will the second driver be a Gravity driver?
EB: The second driver will have to be able to score points and challenge Robert Kubica. So in fact, it might be a Gravity driver or not, but I can guarantee that it will be even more difficult for a Gravity driver to be selected as they really will have to prove their worth to be chosen as Renault’s second driver.

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Renault stays in Formula One

December 16, 2009

Renault has decided to maintain its commitment to Formula One and welcomes the perspective of a strategic partnership with Genii Capital, a Luxemburg based firm specialized in new technologies, brand management and motor sport. Following the proposed sale of a large stake of Renault F1 Team to Genii, both partners will operate the team together. The letter of intent signed by the two companies should be concluded in early 2010.

In 2010, the team will retain its name, its identity and the core ingredients that led to the successes achieved in 2005 and 2006. The team will continue to be supplied with engines by its sister company in Viry-Châtillon, which is also pleased to have received a renewed commitment from Red Bull Racing for the 2010 season.

After 35 years in the sport, Renault today announces a new phase for its F1 programme, consistent with Formula One’s drive for cost efficiencies. Formula One remains one of the biggest sporting spectacles in terms of annual television audiences and media exposure.  Renault therefore believes that the impact of Formula One in terms of image, and brand awareness worldwide, particularly in new, emerging markets, will continue to play a key role in fulfilling the company’s growth objectives in years ahead.

Bernard Rey, Renault F1 Team President, said: “I am delighted to welcome Genii Capital as our new strategic partner as I am sure that their enthusiasm and business expertise will create a new dynamic for the team, the staff, and our partners. Altogether, we look forward to competing again at the highest level in Formula One. Today’s announcement also confirms Renault’s commitment and trust in the sport’s governing bodies to improve the green credentials of Formula One.”

Indeed, in making such a decision, Renault not only demonstrates its commitment to its fans across the world, its employees in Enstone and in Viry, and the FIA, FOA and FOTA but it also believes in the positive impact of promoting relevant technologies in synergy with its product plan. “With the ongoing evolutions of the Formula One regulations, Renault will be able to entertain its fans, while promoting a leaner and sounder Championship. We will show Renault’s skill when it comes to developing high-performance, fuel-efficient cars” said Bernard Rey, Renault F1 Team President.

The important cost reduction measures, made possible by the collective work within FOTA, have already improved significantly the operating cost base. With the anticipated sale of a stake in its F1 operational base in the United Kingdom to Genii Capital, Renault achieves today another step that will definitely bring F1 participation to an affordable level for the Group. In addition, the new partnership will contribute to procuring the team the resources to compete sustainably at the highest level, and creates a great opportunity to modernise its governance.

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Renault F1 Team begins young driver test in Jerez

December 1, 2009

The Renault F1 Team returned to action this week for the first of three days of young driver testing in Jerez in the south of Spain. Belgian driver, Bertrand Baguette, began the team’s programme with a full day in the car as his prize for winning the World Series by Renault 3.5 category earlier this season.

The programme today focussed mainly on evaluating Bertrand, but the team also tried some new development items in preparation for 2010. The 23-year-old covered 105 laps behind the wheel of the R29 as he completed a trouble-free first day in an F1 car.

For tomorrow morning young Chinese driver, Ho-Pin Tung, will take over driving duties before handing the R29 over to the team’s third driver, Lucas di Grassi, for the afternoon.

Bertrand Baguette: “This was my first time in an F1 car and I really enjoyed it. There’s a huge difference between the F1 car and a World Series car, especially the efficiency of the brakes, which is incredible, and the speed you can carry through the quick corners. Also, it’s a completely different world and I’ve been getting used to working with five or six engineers instead of just one. We started the day with a long run so that I could get used to the car and then we started the technical programme as I worked on improving the set-up of the car. It was an amazing experience for me and I hope to do this again in the future.”

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: “It was a good day for Bertrand and he quickly got used to the car and the systems. To begin with we spent a bit of time adjusting the set-up to make him more comfortable in the car, but he suffered a bit with understeer throughout the day. However, he was very focussed, sensible and didn’t make any mistakes as he steadily improved his lap times. He reacted well to the changes we made to the car and worked well with the engineers by giving good feedback. Overall it has been a positive day for us and of course for Bertrand who had his first experience of driving an F1 car.”

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Renault F1 Team gets set for young driver test in Jerez

November 27, 2009

The Renault F1 Team is gearing up for the young driver test which will take place from the 1st to the 3rd of December in Jerez, Spain. Bertrand Baguette, Ho-Pin Tung and Lucas Di Grassi will share driving duties across the three days.

The provisional schedule will see 23-year-old Belgian driver, Bertrand Baguette, get behind the wheel of the R29 on Tuesday 1st of December as his prize for winning the World Series by Renault 3.5 category. This will be Bertrand’s first chance to sample F1 power and an opportunity to complete representative mileage as the team evaluates up and coming young drivers.

The team will also evaluate young Chinese prospect, Ho-Pin Tung. Having previously tested for Williams, the 26-year-old will relish the chance to get reacquainted with an F1 car and will draw upon his recent experience in GP2, A1GP and the Superleague Formula.

The team’s third driver, Lucas Di Grassi, will also have the chance to complete further F1 mileage as he drives the R29 for the first time.

Speaking ahead of the test, Team Principal Bob Bell commented: “Testing is so restricted nowadays, but this young driver test is the perfect opportunity for us to assess rising stars such as Bertrand, Ho-Pin and Lucas. All these drivers have shown great promise and we look forward to seeing what they are capable of as we complete our test programme for the year.”