Renault target strides up F1 2018 grid with new RS18 car
Yellow and black livery for striking RS18 car as Renault eye gains from sixth in championship - declaring "we are on the rise"
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 26/02/18 8:20am
Renault have launched their striking 2018 car, the RS18, as the team aim to take the next step towards the front of Formula 1.
Into the third year of their return to team ownership, Renault are looking to build on the progress which saw them finish in sixth place in 2017.
The new car 'will continue the team's upward performance trajectory', according to Renault.
The RS18 features a revised black and yellow livery along with "an improved suspension concept and greater aerodynamic downforce" as the team aim to cure the weaknesses of its predecessor.
"We are a team on the rise," declared Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll.
"We have two very talented drivers who are hungry for results. Enstone is regenerated and the workforce has already increased by more than 35 per cent. I am convinced year three will take us one step closer to the long-term aim: winning races and challenging for championships."
F1 in 2018: The new cars revealed
Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz form the team's highly-rated driver line-up, with the latter starting his first full season at Enstone after joining for the final four races of last season. British-Korean youngster Jack Aitken has been named the team's third and reserve driver.
"The new car looks very aggressive and very mean," said Hulkenberg. "It looks quick and dynamic."
What to expect from Renault in 2018?
Renault are not targeting a title challenge until 2020, but want to start scoring podiums again from this season.
"Our headline target is to show continued progression through results," said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
"We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard; power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. Everything must improve and we must continue to grow.
"We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track."
The Enstone team last finished on the podium in 2015 when under the Lotus name.
Renault: Four fast facts
- The Enstone team's win in the 2013 Australian GP was the last non-Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari success in F1
- No driver in F1 history has started more races than Nico Hulkenberg without finishing on the podium
- This is Renault's third different spell as a Formula 1 team owner
- Renault improved by more positions than any team in the 2017 Constructors' Championship, three
Since buying back the team they once owned two years ago, Renault have invested heavily in the team's workforce and facilities and made tangible progress last term with the RS17. Staff numbers are back up beyond 600 after dwindling under previous owners Genii.
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Renault's progress in 2018 is set to be directly measured against Red Bull and McLaren, who are both running the French manufacturer's engine.
The company's engine was beset by reliability problems last year with team chief Abiteboul admitting they "played with fire" by chasing performance in an attempt to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari.
Hulkenberg, starting his second season at the team, believes both he and the team are ready to kick on in the new campaign, which begins in Australia on March 25.
"I'm feeling positive and optimistic in myself," said the German. "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."
2018 car unveilings and launch dates
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