Renault has embarqued on a new motorsport future, unveiling its new brand structure, seperated between Renault Sport Cars and Renault Sport Racing. At the core of the racing activities will be the newly-created Renault Sport Formula One Team.
The new F1 challenger consists of the Renault R.S.16 chassis, developed and manufactured in Enstone, whilst the Renault R.E.16 power unit will continue to be developed in Viry-Châtillon, as was the case during Renault's previous presence in F1 as a manufacturer, from 2002 to 2009.
On the back of a lack of marketability as an engine supplier, Renault went for an all-in approach once again.
‘Motorsports still spark the imagination of both enthusiasts and everyday drivers, and we are putting a comprehensive program in place today. Formula 1 is a big part of our efforts to boost awareness of Renault, particularly in markets where Renault is a newcomer, and will enhance the transfer of technologies from the track to our road cars.’ said CEO Carlos Ghosn.
The launched car meanwhile features a predominantly black livery, one that is however set to change for the start of the racing season. Jérôme Stoll, proud of the current livery, mentioned it may not be black, but "equally elegant" as the black version.
From a technical point of view, there is little to say of the launched car, as the team likely chose to put together a Lotus E23 and repaint it accordingly. The nose and front wing are a version that Lotus showed at the most recent Abu Dhabi post-season test whereas the exhaust still appears not to have been adapted to the new regulations.
A number of key appointments have been made in the F1 team to avoid any dilution of the specific requirements of Formula One. Bob Bell is appointed F1 Chief Technical Officer and will manage the efforts of Nick Chester as Chassis Technical Director and Rémi Taffin as Engine Technical Director. Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are confirmed as Renault Sport Formula One Team’s race drivers, and will be supported by Esteban Ocon, who joins the team as Third and Reserve Driver.
Key Formula One partners confirmed
Renault announced its partner portfolio at the event. Renault-Nissan Alliance partner Infiniti will continue its journey in Formula One alongside Renault and will enhance its involvement through a specific technology program developing the second generation of energy recovery systems (ERS) for the F1 power unit.
The technical collaboration between Total and Renault will continue in 2016.
Renault also announced new partnerships with other prestigious brands, including premium watch supplier, Bell & Ross, revolutionary audio systems inventors, Devialet, clothing company Bestseller as well as continuing relationships with the F1 team’s current partners, including Microsoft and EMC. Renault will continue its working relationship with Gravity Motorsports, an affiliate of the Genii Capital Group, which will retain a minority shareholding in the F1 team. Genii and Gravity worked tirelessly to ensure the team’s survival in extremely difficult circumstances and Renault is pleased to recognize this commitment as Gerard Lopez remains a non-executive director of the team.