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Renault reveals R16 Formula 1 car, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer

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Renault reveals R16 Formula 1 car, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer
Feb 3, 2016, 2:25 PM

Renault has revealed the RS16 Formula 1 car it will use during the 2016 season, as well as drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen at a launch ev...

Renault has revealed the RS16 Formula 1 car it will use during the 2016 season, as well as drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen at a launch event in Paris.

The French team also formally announced that Frederic Vasseur, co-founder of the ART single seater team, would be the manufacturer’s F1 racing director.

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault, which bought back the Enstone-based Lotus team that it had previously run between 2002 and 2010 in December last year, revealed the R16 alongside Palmer, Magnussen and the team’s reserve driver, Esteban Ocon.

Renault launch Renalt Sport F1 team - full line up

Renault has chosen Vasseur to the head the team’s F1 operations and he will work alongside Cyril Abiteboul, who will be the managing director of Renault Sport.

Ghosn explained how the newly named Renault Sport Formula 1 team would spearhead the company’s motorsport commitments, which include Formula E and the various Formula Renault series, and stated its aim to return to the F1 podium within three years.

He said: “Formula 1 will be in the pole position of our new motorsport activities and will be named Renault Sport Formula 1 team. The new team has been given the goal to be on the podium within the next three years.”

Renault launch car reverse

Infiniti, the Renault brand that had titled sponsored the Red Bull team since 2013, has been brought over to the company’s works squad, and Ghosn explained how its engineers will work on developing the latest updates on the team’s energy recovery systems.

He said: “To help the team achieve that goal we will leverage the Renault-Nissan alliance with a partnership with Infiniti F1. With Infiniti we will have a joint technology programme to develop the second generation of energy recovery systems for the F1 power unit. This will benefit all brands within the alliance.

Abiteboul, who briefly ran the Caterham team before joining Renault Sport, described the manufacturer’s desire not to merely participate in F1 for the sake of it, but to bring more success to the brand.

He said: “Our mission is not just to participate, we have no intention to make up the numbers – we’re here to win. Renault can make that statement because we’ve won in every single category in which we have competed.

Renault launch car front

“We won in F1 as a team and as an engine supplier 12 times, we won in endurance, we won the first season with e.DAMS [in Formula E] and the is no reason we cannot repeat that in Formula 1. We know the way.”

Jerome Stoll, president of Renault Sport Racing, echoed that attitude: “We have the resources, we have the team, we have the organisation, we have the spirit – Renault is back to win.”

The R16 features a predominately black livery that Stoll suggested could change before the first race in Melbourne.

Renault launch covers off

He said: “This is the car that will race on the Barcelona track in two week’s time. You can see how elegant the livery [is]. It has been designed by our team designer who won so many awards [and that] input has made the livery so beautiful.

“Will it be black in Melbourne? Guess [and] you will see, but the elegance of the livery will remain the same.”

Ambitious atmosphere clear

It is still too early to tell if Renault will be able to improve its F1 performances in 2016 and there was a certain amount of expectation management regarding what the works team can achieve this year.

But what was overwhelmingly clear from the statements made by Renault’s senior management in Paris is that the company is targeting the top spot on the F1 grid.

With hints at the frustration Renault reportedly endured as engine partner to Red Bull’s dominance of F1 at the start of the decade, Ghosn and Abiteboul reiterated the company’s belief that it would get more out of F1 if it took control of its own team.

This year will clearly be about rebuilding the Enstone outfit that struggled with financial problems in 2015, but it should not be forgotten that that team still scored some impressive results with its limited development.

With Renault’s resources and ambitions, as well as two young, talented drivers to pilot the R16s, don’t rule out any eye-catching performances in 2016 as well.

What do you make of Renault’s 2016 challenger? How do you think the team will get on this season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kevin Magnussen