Renault Sport R.S.16
Team: Renault F1
Team: Bob Bell (CTO), Nick Chester (TD Chassis), Rémi Taffin (TD Engine), Martin Tolliday (CD), Ayao Komatsu (CRE), Matthew Carter (CEO), Cyril Abiteboul (MD), Frédéric Vasseur (RD)
Drivers: Jolyon Palmer (30), Kevin Magnussen (20), Esteban Ocon (reserve)
The Renault R.S.16 marks Renault's return to the sport as a constructor, but due to the team's late takeover of Lotus, the car at the launch was basically a Lotus E23B. As such, Renault aimed to have a "stable baseline to enable us to introduce development through the year, as well as lay the groundwork for 2017 and beyond".
Technical Director Nick Chester admitted that the financial issues within the Lotus team were such that planning ahead was impossible, and producing items in team nearly impossible. Additionally, as the team was preparing to have a car with Mercedes engines - as a contract was in place, a lot had to be modified at the last minute when it became clear a switch the Renault power unit would be necessary.
"The timescale was very tight. We were advanced with the development of our chassis with the previous power unit but our focus shifted as the likelihood increased - and was ultimately confirmed - that we would become part of the Renault family once more. It’s fair to say we’ve been very, very busy!"
On the engine side, the story was more or less the same, as the late engine integration meant the integration could be a lot more optimised.
”The power unit we will use in Melbourne is a continuation of the work we started last year and some add-ons push the concepts further", said Rémi Taffin at the launch. "We also have some other areas we are working on so there will be further refinements coming throughout the season, but what we will see in Melbourne will already be a substantial step up from where we left off in 2015. However, we have to look at 2016 as laying the foundations for 2017 when we expect the partnership to have matured.”
The result is a visually similar car to that of the 2015 season, especially at the time of its launch, when it was likewise mostly painted in black. The car also initially had an identical nose cone in the first days of testing, but by day 3 of the first Barcelona pre-season test, Renault fitted a modified version which was slightly higher at its tip to allow more airflow underneath the nose. To comply with the regulations, a bulge had to be made underneath to fit the crash structure and meet the minimum dimensions of the tip of the nose. All on all however, even that iteration was not a huge step away from the 2015 design.
The monocoque also retained its typically very sharp roundings on the top, most likely because the team only had time focus on the higher cockpit protection sides. These had to be modified due to the regulations, so it was no doubt the first priority of the design team, given short time the team had to complete it.
Bodywork behind the cockpit remains largely the same, except for some modifications that were likely necessary due to the change of power units. The airbox also stayed the same, despite it being a very unconventional layout with three large inlets.
At the back, Renault have gone for a 'snowman' exhaust layout, with a single wastegate outlet pipe directly above the main exhaust pipe. The team have opted to make a titanium fairing around that exhaust pipe combination to make the connection between the gearbox casing and the central rear wing pillar. Most teams have this in carbon fibre, but while lighter, it generally more difficult to manufacture and design so that it can cope with the forces exerted on the rear wing, as well as the high temperatures of the exhaust pipes.
After its unveiling in black, the team repainted its car in matte yellow, presenting their final livery on Wednesday before the start of the season, while also revealing that winter testing delivered half a second per lap by engine improvements alone. Two days later, the FIA revealed that Renault had only used 7 of its available 32 engine development tokens over the winter, leaving the team plenty of scope for in-season development.
Chassis: Carbon-fibre monocoque
Front suspension: Upper and lower wishbones, inboard torsion springs and dampers actuated by push-rods
Rear suspension: Upper and lower wishbones, inboard torsion springs and dampers actuated by pull-rods
Brakes: AP 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers with carbon discs and pads
Transmission: Lotus eight speed seamless sequential semi-automatic shift plus reverse gear, gear selection electro-hydraulically actuated, titanium casing
Clutch: Carbon fibre plates
Electronics: FIA standard ECU and FIA homologated electronic and electrical system (as provided by MES)
Cooling system: Aluminium oil, water and gearbox radiators
Tyres: Pirelli, Fronts: 245/660-13, Rears: 325/660-13
Wheels: OZ Racing, forged magnesium alloy
Fuel system: ATL Kevlar-reinforced rubber bladder
Height: 950 mm (minus T camera)
Track width: 1,450 mm (front); 1,400 mm (rear)
Weight: 702kg (FIA mininum; incl. driver and lubricants, tank empty)
Width: 1,800 mm (FIA maximum)
Designation: Renault R.E.16
Type: Turbocharged, 90° 1.6l V6, assisted with kinetic and heat ERS
Valves: 24 (4 per cylinder)
Rev limit: 15,000rpm
Pressure charging: Single turbocharger, unlimited boost pressure (typical maximum 3.5 bar abs due to fuel flow limit)
Crank height: 90mm
Construction: Cylinder block in aluminium
Exhaust: Single exhaust outlet, from turbine on car centre line
Injection: Direct fuel injection, limited to 500bar
Weight: Undisclosed (at least 145kg)
Total horsepower: Approx 875bhp
Energy recovery system: Energy Recovery Systems incorporating two motor generator units – the MGU-H, recovering energy from the exhaust and the MGU-K recovering energy from braking
Energy Store: Battery solution (up to 4MJ per lap), between 20 and 25 kg