Paddock Day Formula 1 with Bell & Ross and Renault Sport
We have a wild passion for paddock days, and not everyone is allowed to enter the box of a Formula 1 team during the official practice session. Doing it on the weekend of the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix is therefore a privilege. On this occasion Bell & Ross invited us to live the Grand Prix from up close, being the official partner of the Renault F1 team, in the adventure destined to bring Renault Sport back to the positions it deserves, reviving the splendor of the era dominated by the deadly 10 cylinder naturally aspirated engines, designed by eng. Bernard Dudot. Times have changed, the single seaters Formula 1 cars are closer to a digital experience than to an analog one, but it is a reality that I am slowly starting to get used to.
A brand born for Formula 1, that did not yet know it was
Motoring digressions aside, Bell & Ross was destined to enter Formula 1: the French brand has such a strong sporting pedigree, that its entry into the highest category was just a matter of time, and the clues were already there at the time of the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 AeroGT and the BR-X1 Hyperstellar presentation.
Creating the BR 03-94 RS 18 was a natural step, and the partnership with Renault Sport, that shares its nationality with Bell & Ross (they are both French) did the rest, giving its collections that authority that the type of client belonging to this category is looking for. After all, there is a direct link between the belts on a military fighter and those of a Formula 1 single seater, as well as the accelerations that few people in the world can handle, in both cases.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-94 R.S.18: its case design resembles the fusion of a Formula 1 gearbox
If you take a tour of the paddock and look to the wrists of the various teams in Formula 1, you will see that almost every team has partnered with a watch brand: the idea of a few has soon spread, also because, seen through the eyes of an external observer, it is functional to the need that all teams have, ie to increase the list of sponsors, to cope with the increasingly large investments, which have grown dramatically with the introduction of hybrid powertrains and all the technology connected to them.
Each team has interpreted these collaborations differently: Richard Mille has built a technical partnership with McLaren; Hublot has created a more formal partnership with Ferrari, which stops at the sharing of design elements, leaving Nyon's R&D to do the rest, while Bell & Ross has mainly focused on a more traditional collaboration, in which its standard collections are inspired by the racing world.
However, It is the only one among the present brands to have three collections branded Renault Sport, with price ranges from about €5000,00 to over €160.000,00, both of vintage and modern inspiration. The Bell & Ross BR 03-94 RS18 is the perfect archetype of this collaboration: the squared BR with microblasted titanium case and buttons in red anodised aluminum is very satisfying, and if Bell & Ross had been born today, the case of the BR 03-94 would seem especially designed to evoke Grand Prix races.
The BR V2-94 R.S.18: the vintage racing by Bell&Ross
For bi-compax enthusiasts, Bell & Ross has also personalized its vintage bi-compax timepiece in a Renault Sport edition, but this limited series leaves me a bit puzzled by the slightly enforced combination of colors, where the square box is indeed perfect, as it seems to have been obtained, rich as it is of buttonholes and processing, from the fusion of a gearbox, and titanium is a widely used metal in competitions.
The direct links are all there, in short. Only the Megane RS is missing from this photo-shooting, official car of the team and the two pilots, which I have been looking for in vain, as it was unfortunately parked in an area far from the paddock. We will have the opportunity to talk about both the BR 03-94 and the BR V2-94 in-depth in a separate occasion.
A bitter Gran Prix
We all know how the Grand Prix ended, lacking results for Renault, who placed Sainz Jr. and Hulkenberg at the eighth and at the thirteenth place respectively. The team was aware though, that the Monza circuit would have largely favored Mercedes and Ferrari, and their super-performing power units with Max Verstappen to limit the damage thanks to its class and to an intelligent race strategy by Red Bull, the same that was instead missing from Ferrari.
The plans of Renault Sport are ambitious, and this is confirmed by the rather unexpected choice, made by Ricciardo, that will join the Enston team next year and will contribute to making Renault F1 one of the top teams in the circus.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter-R by Horbiter®