Published: Wed, February 22, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Renault launch all new RS.17

Renault launch all new RS.17

The team launched its new auto, the R.S.17, on Tuesday predicting overall lap time gains of 3.5-4.0s as a result of Formula One's new regulations and the extra mechanical grip from Pirelli's new wider tyres. The team are putting a lot of pressure on themselves this year, as they consider it their first full year as a works team, rather than coming out from underneath what Lotus left behind.

As the vehicle hunkered down beneath its dust sheet, the screen behind the assembled Renault executives blasted out facts and figures about the Enstone racers, who according to the team are now F1's fastest-growing outfit in terms of: headcount, investment, partners, and fanbase (as measured through social media subscriptions and interactions).

"We expect to be fifth in the championship", Renault Sport Racing President Jerome Stoll told the audience in a central London hall before the black-and-yellow RS17 vehicle was presented to pounding music and strobe lights.

"What I know is that we started from scratch, which was quite courageous because we had a good product previous year that was quite decent, more than decent actually", he said, when asked by Autosport about performance gains. "We have outstanding people who have done an excellent job over the past few months".

"I am very excited".

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Also confident was Abiteboul, who said at the launch that Renault's target for the year was to finish in the points at every race.

Hulkenberg was wary of raising hopes too high, at least until the auto has run for the first time in testing in Spain next week. "For 2017 we are perfectly placed to take the step forward we all desire", the Frenchman said in London on Tuesday.

Russian Sergey Sirotkin retains the role of development driver in a season that sees big changes in the regulations with bigger tyres, faster cornering speeds and cars that will be harder to handle. "The engine is a completely new engine, its very promising but we need to see what it does on the track".

Alain Prost believes 2017 will prove how well Renault's operation is performing and says the team's revamped power unit is "very promising" for the upcoming campaign. I had to put on some muscle from where I was last year, and this means a little bit more weight and a little more focus on upper body strength, whereas last year was all about leaning down as much as I could.

Newer partners include BP Lubricants, who are bringing Castrol to Enstone. Fred Vasseur stepped away from his role of Team Principal, and former Red Bull man Pete Machin has bene recruited as Head of Aerodynamics.

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