Renault Sport has become the third Formula 1 team to take the covers off its 2017 season challenger, doing the honours at a launch ceremony in London on Tuesday.
With Williams and Sauber having already showcased their respective FW40 and C36 challengers, the French squad has unveiled its interpretation of the 2017 technical regulations that are designed to see the cars lap at least three seconds quicker than their predecessors.
The most immediate difference to its predecessor, the RS16 – itself a barely warmed up version of the 2015 Lotus chassis – is in the livery. Last year’s overwhelmingly custard paint job is now a mix of yellow and black.
Longtime fuel partner Total has been replaced by Castrol in the off-season, while the RS17 also sports new sponsorship from the Spanish insurance company Mapfre. Staying on board are the likes of Infiniti (Renault’s Japanese luxury brand) and Microsoft Dynamics.
The chassis, designed under the supervision of Bob Bell (Chief Technical Officer) and Nick Chester (Technical Director), sports the deltoid front and rear wing profile, thumb-tip nose and ‘shark fin’ engine cover that are expected to be seen on almost every car under the new aerodynamic regulations.
Like Williams and Sauber to-date, Renault’s designers have paid significant attention to enhancing the car’s aerodynamics, particularly with how it channels air flow in light of the larger Pirelli tyres being used this year.
Like the Williams FW40, the RS17 has an ‘S duct’ system through the front nose, while its complicated sidepod aerodynamics have also had significant thought applied in their design.
The RS17 is powered by a heavily updated Renault V6 turbo hybrid power unit (designation ‘RE17’), which has less than five per cent of its components inherited from its 2016 predecessor.
With ex-Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg joining Jolyon Palmer in the team’s driving line-up, the outfit also confirmed that Russian GP2 Series racer Sergey Sirotkin will be its reserve driver for the 2017 season.
Returning as a full works team last year following its buyout of the Lotus team, Renault struggled for competitiveness with its little-developed chassis and finished a lowly ninth in the Constructors’ Championship standings. The team has aggressively targeted finishing fifth or better in 2017, with team principal Cyril Abiteboul arguing that it will do so on the back of its recent investments in additional resources and personnel.
Images via Renault Sport F1 Team