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Renault boss keen for fresh start


Renault set for fresh start

By Ross Heaton
BBC Oxford

Renault team principal Eric Boullier says the new Formula One season is an opportunity for a fresh start after a year of controversy.

The Enstone-based team made the headlines in 2009 after Nelson Piquet admitted race fixing at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Renault have since been bought by Luxembourg-based businessman Gerard Lopez who appointed Boullier.

The 36-year-old was formerly the managing director of GP2 team DAMS.

Boullier has replaced former boss Flavio Briatore and insists he has own approach to managing the 2006 constructors' champions.

"It's different. It's just bring to the team a little bit of freshness and a different view of racing, and maybe a focus purely back on the racing," Boullier told BBC Oxford.

It's good to know for everybody when you have troubled times that you are here and you have some people trusting in you

Renault team principal Eric Boullier

After a year when the "crash-gate" incident dominated the news agenda the Frenchman is delighted the focus is now on their on-track prospects.

"We want to focus on racing, winning, developing and performing rather than spending time in the courts," he said.

Prior to the 75% buyout by Lopez's Genii investment company speculation had been rife that the French manufacturer might follow Honda and Toyota in leaving motorsport's elite class.

Boullier said: "I think the people here (in the Oxfordshire factory) knew that we weren't here to close the company but to give some extra push.

"It's good to know for everybody when you have troubled times that you are here and you have some people trusting in you and developing the company."

Renault's fresh start also includes two new drivers - Pole Robert Kubica and Russia's first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov.

Boullier believes the pair will prove an exciting combination as Renault try and return to the form that earned so much success in the mid-noughties.

He said: "We are happy with this mix. Having youth with Vitaly Petrov - he finished second in GP2 last year so he is one of the most promising talents coming up.

"With Robert, we have one of the most (high) ranking drivers in the pit-lane. We are happy to have both of them with us."

Despite Petrov's lack of experience in Formula One Renault's new team principal believes he has the temperament to succeed.

If we can challenge regularly for podiums I will be happy

Renault team principal Eric Boullier

"He is very cool which is very amazing for a young driver coming into Formula One. He did very well in GP2, just behind (Nico) Hulkenberg, I think he is somebody we need to watch," he said.

Boullier's debut season in Formula One sees a host of competitors challenging for podium finishes, but he remains positive about the task to join the frontrunners at the right end of the grid.

"I definitely hope we will be part of them. We understand from our own analysis that there are a couple of teams that are maybe better than the others," he said.

"But the pack is very very close and it will be difficult to get out of this pack. If we can challenge regularly for podiums I will be happy."

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