Renault RS17 - Technical impression

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And it in fact has quite a few distinct features. The first proper Renault made car in a few years shows radical approaches which the teams hopes to get them lifted to at least 5th in the 2017 constructors world championship.

First off we have the front area, the point of first contact for the airflow. Immediately obvious are the Red Bull inspired mounting pylons, but taken to more extreme dimensions. These dimensions were most likely illegal last year, but this year the rules provide for a longer nose and this left regulatory room for larger pylons, often used as turning vanes or flow straighteners when the car is in yaw. The fact that both vanes are also wider apart from each other at their rear suggests these attempt to speed up airflow underneath the nose, which in itself is obviously not a new idea.

Further downstream the car features an outlet for an S-duct, just aft of the car number and pitot tube. The inlet is on the underside right underneath the camera pods. It's essentially very similar to how Red Bull Racing implemented their S-ducts in recent years.

The front wing is an evolved and adapted version of the one Renault used last year. Interestingly, Renault did not go down the route of Sauber as the former retained an outwash tunnel, even more pronounced than last year, showing that we'll see different philosophies this year in this area.

And contrary to different philosophies in front wing design, we seem to have a convergence towards bigger airboxes in the roll hoop. The Enstone based team, previously under its Lotus name, has some experience in this regard thanks to their notorious efforts to build a passive stalling device for the rear wing. Later cars also features auxiliary cooling inlets in proximity of the roll hoop. This year the rear wing is lower and further back, reducing the impact the roll hoop has on it in terms of blockage. Combined with a need to keep sidepods as slender as possible and the increased need for air to feed the turbo compressor, the air intakes have become larger not only for Renault, but most likely for a large majority of the cars on the 2017 grid.

The bargeboards and the turning vanes in the sidepod area instantly catch the eye as well as Renault's seem to be reasonably well developed already. Elements in this area mainly consist of the primary bargeboard which now extends much further ahead than what was previously allowed in the regulations. The section closest to the ground, featuring the "SMP Racing" logo wraps under the monocoque, a feature that was particularly prominent on many cars between 2003 and 2009 (such as on this Ferrari F2007).

The yellow painted sidepod panels meanwhile are an interesting solution, not seen on either the Williams FW40 or the Sauber C36 so far. It's a clever solution that uses the regulatory area of the bargeboard to place it further in front of the sidepod inlet, twisting the upper half back next to the sidepod. The turning vanes also have slits in the lower half in front. Clearly a lot of thought went into this area to carefully manage airflow in this area to maximize flow over the floor. Do expect fine-tuning in this area as the team will seek correlation between the wind tunnel and on track data.

The sidepod area is a bit wider than the previous 2 cars, with the maximum width being close to the width of the floor. That being said, they are heavily undercut.

The rear of the car shows likewise a much slender coke bottle to increase flow towards the rear wing, along with a shark fin. Very interesting here is how Renault chose to support the rear wing. It uses a rather thin pylon, on one end protruding through the exhaust pipe, while on the other connected to the actuator pod of the DRS on top of the wing. This leaves less blockage for the aerodynamically more important underside - low pressure side - of the wing.

There is not much to talk about the diffuser since its dimensions do not match 2017's wider maxima. The outer extremes where the diffuser is closest to the rear tyres have also been masked, cautious not to give away too much too early.

All in all, a very detailed car that breaths the ambition Renault has for this season!


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