F1 Winter Break
Sauber and Renault join the fray, Petrov the trailblazer for Russia
Sauber and Renault join the fray, Petrov the trailblazer for Russia
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jan 2010   |  6:12 pm GMT  |  115 comments

Today in Valencia, the BMW Sauber and Renault teams revealed their new cars ahead of the first day of testing tomorrow.

BMW Sauber went first in the morning, Peter Sauber showing off the first car since acquiring the team back from BMW and showing off his two new drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa. The team has yet to be apply for a name change and is staying “BMW Sauber” for the moment, according to Sauber. It is noticeable that the BMW colours are still to be seen around the nose of the car and to the casual observer it will look as though BMW is still in F1. The car is powered however by a Ferrari engine.

Picture 48
Renault followed in the afternoon, with Russian Vitaly Petrov, as expected, joining Pole Robert Kubica as a race driver. It is a sign of the changing times that a leading team has two drivers from the former Eastern Bloc.

“We are very aware of the nationality of our drivers and as a result of that very aware of where the marketing and sponsoring effort should go to,” said Renault owner Gerard Lopez.

Petrov is a graduate of GP2, the F1 feeder series which is backed by Renault and uses Renault engines and technology. Petrov follows Heikki Kovalainen, Nelson Piquet and Romain Grosjean as GP2 drivers given a race seat.

Picture 49
The team is now majority owned by Lopez’s Genii Capital company, but the engines are still 100% Renault. For the moment it is a question of aligning the objectives of both Renault and Genii. The team was looking for a paying driver and Petrov brings a healthy budget, but it’s not the only reason he is there. He was runner up in GP2 last season and as the first Russian driver in F1, he offers Renault, Genii and Bernie Ecclestone a great lever into the Russian market.

Renault has returned to its corporate colours, similar to the colours the cars ran in back in the late 1970s when they first entered the sport with the famous turbo engined cars. The main sponsor looks to be Total oil company, but judging from the amount of space they have on the car, it is not much bigger a deal than last season.

For Sauber, this is a moment he hadn’t planned for, but after BMW’s decision last summer to withdraw from F1, Sauber had to step in to save the team. Ironically, not long before that, Lopez and Genii had tabled a serious offer for the BMW Sauber team, but it was rejected by the BMW board. So he went for Renault instead.

“The last few months have been very intense for us,” said Peter Sauber. “First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong set-up in place for the future.

“The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil. We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it’s an approach that has brought us a lot of success.

“Pedro has been working at the highest level technically for many years and for a top team, and we can benefit as a team from this experience. Young Kamui also has a lot to offer us, and last year he impressed me particularly in Abu Dhabi.”

Sauber does have a tradition of mixing older drivers with younger ones, but he’s also made his fair share of mistakes with hires over the years, the last one being Jacques Villeneuve who struggled and was replaced by Robert Kubica.

Picture 47
The BMW Sauber C29 was unveiled without prominent sponsors. The team’s long relationship with Malaysian oil giant Petronas ended recently when Mercedes won a competitive pitch for the €30 million a year sponsorship against Sauber and other teams.

There is only a relatively small deal with Certina watches to be seen. De la Rosa brings a small amount, less than €1 million, from Universia, a Santander-run foundation which sends kids to universities around the world. It is part of Santander’s corporate social responsibility programme.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Any idea if Sauber is going to keep the BMW name for the 2010 season? We’re 2 weeks away from the start of the season and the Ferrari powered Sauber still bears reference to a manufacturer that turned its back on F1!

Are the BMW colours still on the nose in Jerez?

Sławomir Górka

And finally, Robert is being run in f1 and advise, is a Pole, is not tolerated by the East or West

Sławomir Górka

Poland is a country in Eastern Europe to determine irrelevant if we are closer to the Atlantic than the Urals.


I second georges comment is it me or does Jonathan legend (if that’s how it’s spelt) not read his data sheets, as I found myself on a quite a few occasions corrected his commentary, where the BBC has bought alot to the viewing in f1 he really does let the side down


I see a weak link in McLaren’s 2010 efforts, this being their test driver Gary Paffett, I mean what’s he ever done and if one checks his past testing times he was always slower than McLaren’s other drivers.

Pedro was a top block and a great test driver as was Panis before him and I think McLaren will soon realise that this is an area that needs looking at.


After only a couple of launches but we can already see a trend emerging.

All the big guns in F1 have lanched a car that probably will not compete at the first race !!!

It seems to be very strange when they decided to reduce the cost of F1 but, on the other hand, I think the biggest teams have a very powerfull manufacturer capability that nobody is taking any chances to see others copying some components to make their car more competitive.

If you think about last year double diffuser saga… McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull, while trying to make the double diffuser illegal, they were testing their version of the double diffuser but they were only capable to integrate this element if the chassis only at Monaco or later.

This year some teams believe that they have something specisl and they are testing with a different spec car than the one will race in Bahrain.

Fantastic !!!!!!

Once again engeneering at his best, good luck to all F1 teams, this season will be even better than last year.

James as usual fantastic blog, I would love to know how many F1 mechanincs, engeneeirs, team managers, and so on are bloggin on here ro reading, any clue ????


Here here, it’s irritating as hell that people always make out they are being singled out.

Here we are, with one of the most diverse sports in the world, which you’ll find that James was embracing, and you still complain??


A tad negative but thanks anyway. You kinda missed the point though, the question is not about the shark fin per se, more about Ferrari making a different interpretation the tech specs, to their detriment, than the other teams.

The shark fin of years past may still be in a cupboard somewhere in Maranello but you probably realise it’s not a matter of just slapping one on the 2010 car.


Some teams ran fins last year so there was no question about it’s legality. They just opted not to use it. Maybe they will try it out on tests.


Love that the Sauber cars went back to the C## numbering system…

And what’s with the tiger stripes on the back of the retro colour scheme Renault? I know it’s the year of the Tiger and all that, but aren’t tigers more appropriate for an Exxon Mobil sponsored team (McLaren)?


I think its great that both drivers are from the former eastern bloc. With the emergence of these drivers its hard not to note the absence of a US race. At some, point F1 needs to swallow some of its pride to participate the biggest market. If only LH was an american – somebody tell him that he can immigrate and double his income overnight.


I think R29 was average car because it’s actually more suitable for 2010. 🙂

This photo: http://s001.radikal.ru/i195/1001/16/60115aedf45f.jpg shows comparation and it might be that Renault R30 actually ends up being the best package if it really proves that they just needed to evolve last years car unlike other teams who had to design pretty different cars.


I see Kubica has changed his helmet design to match the Renault colour scheme. Would love to know if this is imposed on the drivers or if it’s their choice. To me, it should be their signature that never changes. Senna would never have altered his colours, nor Mansell or Piquet.

Button’s helmet last year – horrendous.


I am curious as to why you think Red Bull are missing the first test and delaying the launch of their car. Is this because they are simply not ready yet or is this because they have something fairly radical and do not want to give anybody time to copy their ideas?


Why do people make jokes about the Jordan. Renault’s colours are yellow and black, just with added red from Total.


The sauber looks very plain but let’s hope it’s more of a mclaren orange pre season colour scheme than the final one.

What about an all red colour scheme or maybe silver lol (joking). I think the paint manufacturers are cutting down on colours due to the downturn.


I was just thinking late Jordan for the colour scheme. Like many others.

Nice to see the yellow and black back. I liked the original renault works colours format that inspired this one (rather than the Jordan one here). Didn’t the original scheme have White as well?


Is it just me, or does it look like Renault have made very little change whatsoever to the design of their car, aside from the obvious (elongating it to accompany the larger fuel tank)? Although they did put some “nobs” on the nose to simulate the valleys on the Red Bulls. This doesn’t speak well of the state of the team.

Sauber actually look like they’ve done a decent amount of development on this car in the latter stages of BMW’s ownership. Although it looks like they’ve done something of a shameless ripoff of the front wing of the BGP001.

With regard to the seemingly popular move to shark fins (3 of 4 so far have them; given Red Bull’s history, I think we can count on them having one), perhaps they’ve made the calculation that the increased weight at the rear with added fuel could cause some issues in crosswinds?


The sight of the sponsorless Sauber just reminds me of how badly BMW handled their exit from F1. The Honda team sold for a pound then bankrolled Brawn for 2009. Renault have done a similar deal wherby the team is left in decent shape for 2010. Yet BMW just pulled the plug, refused to sign the Concorde deal which would have netted Sauber some TV money for 2010 and then tried to get as much as possible for the assets. Hats off to Peter Sauber for coming to the rescue and good luck finding the sponsors and budget to continue. Shame on you BMW!


This season has all the ingredients to be one of the best ever, certainly one of the most hyped ever! Just wondered if anyone else out there is worried it could turn out, somehow, to be a damp squib? Lol


I can’t wait to hear what Eddie Jordan has to say in Bahrain… im 99.9% certain he will make a crack about the Renault being a rebadged Jordan…


Speaking of the TV coverage, has the team been confirmed yet? I’m still hoping we’ll get a new commentator alongside Martin.


I suspect that will be after he’s milked Schumacher to Mercedes! He’ll be dining on that for the rest of his life if he can get away with it!


You just know it! Lol.


James, were Renault allowed to carry out any work over the winter to improve on the apparent reliability issues they experienced last season? Also, i know you stated that the Cosworth will be powerful but i wondered how you think they’ll fare for reliability? Can’t wait til tomorrow.


I did a post on engines recently. Teams are able to do work on reliability, of course. As for Cosworth, clearly they have been able to test on the dyno, but they haven’t got as proven a product as their competitors at this stage. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be a decent engine


Love the Renault livery, hope they’ll race with it. Don’t love the Sauber livery – but it’s a blqank canvas so hopefully they’ll be able to colour it in before the season starts.

It strikes me with some of the figures I’ve seen bandied about that there are some fantastic bargins to be had if you’ve got a brand that you want boosted.


I might try apply for a job at Renault.

I’m a graphic designer and I recon they badly need one.


James, maybe you can shed some light on this?? if you check out F1Fanatic.co.uk, you can see aerial photos of the R29 against the R30, the R30 looks no longer or wider, does this mean Renault have a smaller fuel tank than the other 2010 cars to be launched? Can you confirm anything on car lengths or fuel tank size?

The fuel efficient Renault engine in the Red Bull and Genii Renault could be tough to beat…


It’s not the R29 – the nose and sidepods are clearly different. I’m wondering if an increased fuel tank necessarily means a longer car? There’s a number of places to located additional fuel volume, could something creative be going on here?


They’ve moved the cockpit forward though.

You can see it on here: http://www.vivaf1.com/blog/?p=2342


Are you sure the scale is the same?


Yes, in the article were the two cars are compared side by side, they scaled the image based off the rear tire size, which is the same this year as it was last year. There is almost no apparent difference between the cars despite Renault saying this years car is 25cm longer. Is this a 2009 car dressed up in 2010 colours ala Mercedes, or is it really clever packaging by Renault?


According to polish website Pit Stop (http://f1.sport.pl/) Renault R30 is going to put on some new clothes within next few days. People at Pit Stop were suspicious about how similar the new R30 is to last year’s R29. James Allison, asked about any new parts in near future, confirmed that almost everything what we saw today on that car will be upgraded within next few days. New floor, new front and rear wing, new break’s cooling ducts, new chassis’ elements and even the multi-level diffuser! So we might see completely and truly new R30 tomorrow yet.

By the way James. On that mentioned above Polish website you can find a few-minutes-long video interviews with two Polish Formula 1 journalists, which are being issued throughout the year to comment on latest news from F1 world. I would love to see similar video edits with you James interviewing some great names on your website. How does it sound?


We have all kinds of plans..


same scale… different cars…


I think so… In other comparisons like with the mclarens and the ferraris the new cars look clearly longer putting them side by side, while the renault looks the same size.

We will check that tomorrow


sorry, just read the other posts! it’s still the R29!

oh well


Sauber’s on to a winner with Kobayashi imo.

Can Merc deliver a title, or even a race win before the German GP, to keep Petronas happy?

some may have their doubts but we shall see…

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