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Renault returns to F1 with RS16

Renault has formally announced its first F1 car in six years will be named as RS16 as it revealed key details and a striking livery.
Renault has formally announced its first F1 car in six years will be named as RS16. as it revealed a key details and a striking livery ahead of its much anticipated return as a constructor.

The French firm, champions in 2005 and 2006, have not raced as a constructor since 2010 when it sold the shares in its team to Genii Capital – which eventually rebranded it as Lotus - to focus on its role as an engine supplier.

In that time Renault clinched four consecutive world titles in collaboration with Red Bull Racing, but souring relations between the two parties following a change in the engine regulations has prompted the manufacturer to go it alone again through the re-purchase of the erstwhile Lotus outfit.

Unveiling the livery it will race in 2016, the RS16 adopts a striking new look, being predominantly black with flourishes of yellow. However, the team did tease the car may undergo a livery tweak ahead of the new season, while the car on display is a lightly modified version of last year's Lotus E23.

The car itself will be raced by Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen, the latter getting a last minute call up to replace Pastor Maldonado, whose failed to meet original financial agreements. Youngster Esteban Ocon will be test and reserve driver, though he will retain Mercedes management.

Renault also officially confirmed Frederic Vasseur will assume a team principal role following several successful years in charge of multiple champions ART Grand Prix in GP2 and GP3. Cyril Abiteboul will assume the role of managing director.

Beyond Renault, sister brand Infiniti - formerly Red Bull title backer - will collaborate on technology, while others sponsors include Jack & Jones clothing company, Total, EMC and Microsoft.

Renault's return to F1 comes after protracted negotiations throughout 2015 to purchase the Lotus F1 team and marks the start of a new era for one of the sport's most successful marques. As a fully-fledged constructor, Renault has won 35 grands prix, 51 pole positions and two world titles, plus a further 133 wins and nine world titles as an engine supplier.

In addition, Renault will continue to supply engines to Red Bull – despite the fractious relationship - under the TAG Heuer banner with the Milton Keynes squad taking engine development in house. Renault has also stopped supplying power units to Toro Rosso in 2016 who will take year-old Ferrari engines.

Tagged as: Formula 1 , Renault

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February 03, 2016 7:00 PM

Although the new rules prevents manufacturers supplying customers teams with different specifications of engines, apart from were special dispensation is given/approved (year old specification PU), it does not preclude the possibility of them using different software mapping or fuel products, as different fuel products will require different software mapping. Regulations for 2016 season published by FIA on 4/10/2015 states that the 2016 customer engines must be same specification as works teams (article 23.4 of 2016 sporting regulations pdf) these rules apply only to engine/PU "hardware" not to "software, fuel or lubricants".

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