Following their takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, the Renault name is returning as an works entry for the 2016 Formula 1 season.
It was December last year when Renault finally completed the takeover of the Enstone team, allowing Renault to officially compete from 2016 as an works entrant. Previously the French car maker ran from 2002 to 2011 having taken over the entry from Benetton.
Even though the decision to purchase the team was very late last season, managing director of Renault Sport Racing, Cyril Abiteboul believes the team looked professional when they made their first appearance at pre-season testing with their new identity and kit.
“We knew we would start the year on the back foot as we made our decision to purchase the team very late in 2015.” said Abiteboul. “However we still made the first test looking professional with our new identity and new kit. We have good things coming up on the power unit and some strong mechanical and aero developments from Enstone.
“Podiums are not necessarily on the menu, I think it would take a strange cocktail of circumstances for us to be there, but we should be able to fight for points in the course of the season. 2017 is still the main plan so we are laying those foundations now.”
Following a season as Third and Reserve driver with Lotus, Jolyon Palmer has stepped up to a race seat with Renault for the 2016 season. He will be joined by former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen, who in his debut season scored a podium at the Australian Grand Prix.
“I think we have a fantastic driver line up,” added Abiteboul. “They bring the energy of young people who want to make a point. Both drivers want to prove a lot, but they deserve to be in F1 and will gain in experience as we gain in experience. I am pretty sure we have two quite clever and smart drivers who will respond to this new philosophy and I can’t wait to see it play out on track.”