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Renault Launches R.S. 17 Challenger In England

Photo Courtesy of Renault Sport Racing

Photo Courtesy of Renault Sport Racing

After taking over the old Lotus team, which resulted in a disappointing ninth place finish in the 2016 formula one constructor’s championship, Renault erased the chalk board for this season by launching their new challenger for 2017, the R.S 17, Tuesday afternoon in London, England.

Renault Sport Racing’s director Jerome Stoll mad a big prediction and confidently stated that the team had its main goal for this season to finish fifth in the constructor’s championship, and then moving up gradually in the following seasons.

“I feel very confident [about 2017]”, Stoll said at the launch of what has been called the RS17 to ESPN F1. We have outstanding people who have done an excellent job over the past few months. … I feel very confident in the fact that we should deliver. On top of that, we have a new asset who will help us achieve our ambitions over the next few years: that asset is Alain Prost [special advisor for Renault Sport Racing].”

Prost, himself a four-time world champion in the past, had already been an ambassador to the French company, when it was supplying engines. He finds this new job just as satisfying as when his Edams team won the drivers and constructors title in Formula E, in which he was the team manager.

“I think it’s a very important season because it’s the first year that all the team were able to build the car — Enstone on one side and Viry on the other — and think about the integration of the engine,” Prost told ESPN. “The engine is a completely new engine, it’s very promising but we need to see what it does on the track. So, it’s very important we go back to a normal performance, even if we know it’s much, much, much too soon to beat the top teams. But the position of fifth in the championship is still ambitious but it’s realistic and I hope we can reach this objective. “I think it’s important we can have some impressive cars as we need to show people that F1 is something special, which it is, and maybe to bring new, maybe younger people who don’t follow F1 too much.”

The car itself, was fully integrated by both the chassis team in Enstone, England, and their engine partners in Viry-Chatillon, near Paris, France. It was developed from start to finish by technical director Bob Bell, which features the distinctive wings and wider track, which is mandated by the new 2017 rules. It also features the thumb-like appendage on the nose to satisfy additional rule requirements. The livery is somewhat mixed from the two colors that Renault used last year, with the yellow in the front of the car, with more black towards the rear.

For managing director Cyril Abiteboul, it was a bit exciting to see the new car, which he feels can move forward this season.

“For 2017 we are perfectly placed to take the step forward we all desire.” He said. “The R.S.17 is the result of many long working hours spent over our two integrated locations and the result is a car we can be proud of. We are joined by a strong group of partners with BP, Castrol, MAPFRE and SMP Racing representing the best pre-season sponsorship acquisition campaign in the paddock. We are the fastest growing F1 team and we now need to prove our performance on track. Our objective is to score points at every round.”

Jolyon Palmer returns to the team for his second season, but replacing Kevin Magnussen is now the highly rated German Nico Hulkenberg, who comes from Force India. The new Renault tester is Russian Sergey Sirotkin, a former GP2 driver, will replace Esteban Ocon and will most likely drive in the opening first practice sessions on grand prix weekends.
With a brand new slate to start from, Renault expects that things can only get better and will slowly but certainly with time, get to the goal that they have been working for—-success.

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.