Fans and media viewed the R.S.18 for the first time (20 Feb) through a stunning hologram projection that rotated the car 360 degrees to show off its new black and yellow livery.
Now the R.S.18 is en route to Barcelona where drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz (in front of his home crowd) will put the car through its paces during an intensive four days of running (26 Feb-1 March). The 2018 F1 season begins with the Australian GP in Melbourne on 26 March…
Hopes are high for the R.S.18 – the design and build of the car is the result of an increase in resources across the team’s two bases at Enstone, UK and Viry-Chȃtillon, France.
At Viry, the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 Renault R.E.18 power unit has performed strongly on the dyno. In particular there has been a lot of work on improving performance – this season cars will be permitted just three internal combustion engines (ICE) and two MGU-K energy stores.
On the chassis side, the car is a progression and refinement of the concepts developed during the 2017 season. It 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.
Much of this work has been carried out at Enstone where, in the past 12 months, there have been upgrades to the CFD supercomputer, wind tunnel, race team operations room, gearbox dyno and machine shop, plus an expanded design office.
Renault Sport Racing President Jérôme Stoll said: “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%.
“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, RSR’s Managing Director) 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.”
Cyril Abiteboul added:“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.
“Our headline target is to show continued progression through results. 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 the way we behave on and off track.”
Meanwhile, rising 22-year-old British-Korean star Jack Aitken – who will contest this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship as a Renault Sport Academy-backed driver – has been confirmed as the team’s third/reserve driver for 2018. Russian Artem Markelov will serve as its test and development driver.