Renault revels 2018 challenger

By on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Renault R.S.18 was unveiled today, marking Renault Sport Formula One Team’s third chassis since its return to Formula 1 as a full works’ entry in 2016. The car is a progression and refinement of the concepts developed during the 2017 season and includes an improved suspension concept and greater aerodynamic downforce.

Noticeably, the R.S.18 also features the mandatory new-for-2018 cockpit protection known as the ‘halo’ and a re-profiled engine cover to comply with the 2018 technical regulations.

The 1.6l turbocharged V6 Renault R.E.18 power unit will power the R.S.18. The power unit has realised a very strong programme on the dyno in Viry-Châtillon to maximise performance and improve reliability in preparation for the reduction to just three internal combustion engines (ICE) and two MGU-K and energy stores per season.

The R.S.18 is developed jointly by the teams in Enstone, UK, and Viry, France. Significant improvements have been made to the Enstone facility over the past year, with enhancements to the CFD supercomputer, wind tunnel, race team operations room, gearbox dyno, machine shop and an expanded design office. The upgrades have already translated into on-track performance, with Renault Sport Formula One Team finishing the season sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, improving from ninth in 2016.

“Renault Sport Formula One Team’s ambition is clearly to uphold the outstanding record of the past and the 2017 season has confirmed we are on the right track,” says Renault Sport Racing President Jérôme Stoll.

“We are a team on the rise. We have two very talented drivers who are hungry for results. Enstone is regenerated and the workforce has already increased by more than 35%. 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.

“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 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.”

The Renault R.S.18 will be delivered to Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz, and both are keen to get to grips with the car at the first test in Barcelona, from 26 February to 1 March.

“When I have visited Enstone and seen everything going on with the development of the R.S.18 I’m very enthused about the season ahead,” comments Hülkenberg.

“Add that to the news from Viry about the development of the power unit and everything looks and sounds good; it’s all positive and there are exciting times ahead. I’m feeling positive and optimistic in myself. We’re in a good position. For this year we want to build on the good platform of last season. 2017 was about bedding in, now I want to get ready to go. I get a good feeling, we have put the work in over the winter and hard work usually pays off. I’m eager to get out there. Put me in the car.”

His team mate is similarly eager to get going after joining the team towards the end of the 2017 season. “The general approach is to work harder every day to continue on a positive trend. For sure the main target is to take a step forward, both me as a driver and the whole team. It’s difficult to predict how big that step will be, however, I’m confident as I have been pushing hard during the winter and I know everyone at the factory is giving their very best. I´m convinced this is going to be an exciting season”, said Sainz.

The two Renault drivers will be joined this year by Jack Aitken, who steps up to become Third and Reserve Driver. The twenty-two-year-old British-Korean was one of the founding members of the Renault Sport Academy and will combine his F1 role with competition in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. “It feels amazing to take up the role as Third and Reserve Driver,” says Aitken.

“It hasn’t quite processed yet, but I’m going to step up my involvement with the team quite a lot. Over the first Barcelona test, it will start to feel real and sink in a little bit more. The role gives me an opportunity to be closer to Nico and Carlos and learn from them, as well as observing the race team, the engineers and how everything operates. Of course, if I’m required, I’d be happy to jump in the car, but I hope it’s all fine with Nico and Carlos! At the moment, it will be about continuing my development.”

Artem Markelov will support the team in his new role as Test and Development Driver. The Russian will combine an F2 campaign with development duties in the team’s driver-in-the-loop simulator at Enstone. “I’m really happy to join Renault Sport Formula One Team as Test and Development Driver. Renault is a standout name in Formula 1 so to sign for them is a really significant step in my career. This year will consist of a lot of listening and learning and taking the opportunity when it comes. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’ve had a busy winter of preparing for what will be a demanding season of test driving and racing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Russian Time. I’m very much looking forward to the start of the season and getting to work.”


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