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Renault stuns F1 with ‘invisible’ exhausts

According to widespread speculation at Valencia, Renault’s claim that its 2011 car is “aggressive” and innovative is not just standard pre-season rhetoric.

Many insiders were left impressed and scratching their heads after the new black and gold R31 was unveiled in the Ricardo Tormo circuit pitlane on Monday.

Even the closer inspection of close-up photographs did not solve a mystery about the whereabouts of the car’s engine exhaust exits — amid rumours the outlets could even be near the front of the car for aerodynamic purposes.

Team owner Gerard Lopez told reporters the 2011 car is “quite revolutionary in a number of areas”, and technical boss James Allison is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as saying the R31 is a “very bold design”.

France’s Auto Hebdo quoted Allison as saying: “It is right to say this car is ambitious and differs in its entire concept not only from last year but from all the cars previously made by this team.”

Auto Motor und Sport also said the purpose of two channels alongside the airbox and engine cover is “not yet apparent”, adding that an element of the rear wing is “also unusual”.

Also exciting the technically-minded observers is the Red Bull-like pull-rod rear suspension, but Polish driver Robert Kubica told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is not setting his heart on race wins.

“I don’t want to say too much because the last time we spoke about winning races, I was with BMW and half the season was a disaster,” he said.