Renault launch 2017 car, the RS17, ahead of new Formula 1 season
French-owned team target jump from ninth to fifth in 2017 standings with RS17; Nico Hulkenberg joins Jolyon Palmer in line-up
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 22/02/17 8:01am
Renault have revealed their new RS17 car as they target a big improvement in the 2017 Formula 1 season.
After Williams and Sauber revealed images of their respective new challengers, Renault have become the first team to physically unveil their 2017 contender at a glittering launch event in central London.
Retaining the distinctive yellow and black livery which returned to F1 last year, the French manufacturer-owned team are eyeing a significant leap in competitiveness - with a fifth-placed finish the stated 2017 target.
"The RS17 is the first car which Enstone and Viry [Renault's UK and French F1 bases] have been able to plan and develop from the outset and we're satisfied by the fruits of this interaction," said Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll. "It's a beautiful car.
"For 2017 our performance targets are clear. We want to take a definite, tangible step forward in performance and results. Fifth position in the Constructors' Championship is our goal."
Nico Hulkenberg has joined the team from Force India, with Britain's Jolyon Palmer retained for a second campaign.
"It looks racy," Hulkenberg told Sky Sports when asked about the RS17. "It looks fast and aggressive, it looks pretty good."
Renault's first year back at the helm of the Enstone team in 2016 proved disappointing with the team hamstrung by delays in the RS16's development the previous winter, leaving them ninth out of 11 teams in the Constructors' Championship.
Who's who at Renault in 2017?
|Race driver||Nico Hulkenberg|
|Race driver||Jolyon Palmer|
|Reserve driver||Sergey Sirotkin|
|Managing director||Cyril Abiteboul|
|Chief technical officer||Bob Bell|
|Chassis technical director||Nick Chester|
|Engine technical director||Remi Taffin|
But the French manufacturer focused on building up the former champion team's infrastructure off the track, with a recruitment drive central to its ambitions of challenging for the world title by 2020.
Frederic Vasseur left his post as team principal in January after just one season amid reports of disagreements with Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport's managing director.
But speaking to Sky Sports News HQ at the launch, Palmer expressed optimism Renault are on the right path towards future success.
"I hope it's a realistic target because if we are targeting fifth then we are in the top 10 of the drivers' [championship] and from there, if results go your way and you have a strong weekend, you can dream of having a podium in the year, which for me would be fantastic," he said.
"But we are a manufacturer team. Last year we couldn't do what we wanted to do with the car because of the previous Lotus days, now we've got a car that's properly designed and integrated between chassis and engine. I really believe in the team and think we can do a good job this year."
Renault confirmed Russia's Sergey Sirotkin as their reserve driver for 2017, with four-time world champion and long-time Renault ambassador Alain Prost to act as a special advisor to the team's management.
The first F1 pre-season test starts on Monday February 27 and the Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk on all four days while Sky Sports News HQ will also deliver live updates from trackside.