Renault takes wraps off 2018 F1 challenger
Renault has taken the covers off its 2018 Formula 1 package, the RS.18, as it plots its path back towards title contention.
Renault, a title-winning operation in the mid-2000s, scaled back its involvement in the sport at the start of the decade, acting most prominently as Red Bull’s engine partner.
The manufacturer returned full-time for 2016, acquiring its previous operation – then running under the Lotus banner – and placed ninth overall, scoring just a smattering of points.
Renault signed Nico Hulkenberg for 2017, with the German spearheading its charge, making strong in-season gains, though ultimately missed its pre-testing target of fifth in the standings.
The operation was boosted by signing Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., on loan from Red Bull, for the final Grands Prix, and the Spaniard will contest the full campaign with Renault.
Renault, upon its full-scale return in 2016, outlined 2018 as the season in which it wants to regularly challenge for podiums, ahead of contending for overall honours in 2020.
"Our investment has so far been successfully translated to the track as we rose from ninth to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship in 2017 and ended the year with the fourth fastest car," said Renault Sport Racing President Jerome Stoll.
"The success of the programme in just two years is testament to the resilient plan laid down early in the creation of the team and the strong job done by Cyril [Abiteboul] and the entire Renault Sport Racing teams.
"I am convinced year three will take us one step closer to the long-term aim: winning races and challenging for championships."
Renault will also continue to supply Red Bull with power units, and has a new customer in McLaren, following the squad’s decision to ditch Honda.
Toro Rosso, previously Renault’s customer, has taken up usage of the Japanese power plants, ensuring the Viry-based company remains affiliated with three teams.
Alongside Hulkenberg and Sainz Jr., Renault has appointed Jack Aitken to the position of test/reserve driver, with Artem Markelov joining in a test/development role.