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Hectic start to 2017 season for Renault Sport F1 team

After the opening Grand Prix of 2017 in Australia, the Renault Sport Formula One Team is already en route Shanghai in China for the first of three races inside as many weeks.
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As we went to press the team were already in the Melbourne paddock preparing for the Australian GP (26 March) – a first opportunity for it to find out just how competitive its new R.S.17 machine, designed for F1’s new regulations, is compared to the opposition.

The results of drivers Jolyon Palmer’s and Nico Hülkenberg’s adventures in Oz will of course will now be known. But now comes the 5000-mile trek north to Shanghai for China’s GP (9 April) followed immediately by the move 3700 miles west to Bahrain for its race just a week later (16 April). Round four, in Sochi, Russia is then just a fortnight after that (30 April).

It’s a demanding start to the 2017 F1 season for the team’s personnel – management, mechanics, engineers, logistics and PR and communications – who, returning to base in either Enstone or Paris between the Bahrain and Sochi races, will have travelled close to 30,000 miles in little more than a month. Similarly both R.S.17s – consider that the total distance for those four races will come in at under 800 miles…

In the meantime take a look at the photos in this article (shot during pre-season testing at Barcelona) to see just how different looking 2017’s R.S.17 is compared to its 2016 predecessor.

An immediate noticeable difference is fatter tyres all round. Another is the car’s aerodynamics – notice how its engine cover has sprouted a ‘fin’ (not seen in F1 for seven or so years). Both front and rear wings have also required a re-think.

Above all it has meant much faster lap times due to greater cornering capabilities but also slower top speeds and therefore shorter braking distances – this having a knock-on effect on ‘harvesting’ (when cars recover energy when slowing to top up power).

Race dates 2017: Renault Sport Formula One Team (showing race starts UK time)

26 March                   Melbourne, Australia                       06:00
9 April                         Shanghai, China                             07:00
16 April                      Sakhir, Bahrain                                16:00
30 April                      Sochi, Russia                                   13:00
14 May                       Barcelona, Spain                             13:00
28 May                       Monte Carlo, Monaco                      13:00
11 June                     Montreal, Canada                            19:00
25 June                     Baku, Azerbaijan                             14:00
9 July                         Red Bull Ring, Austria                    13:00
16 July                       Silverstone, Great Britain               13:00
30 July                       Hungaroring, Hungary                   13:00
27 August                  Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium      13:00
3 September             Monza, Italy                                       13:00
17 September           Singapore                                         13:00
1 October                   Sepang, Malaysia                            08:00
8 October                   Suzuka, Japan                                 06:00
22 October                 Austin, USA                                      20:00
29 October                 Mexico City, Mexico                         19:00
12 November            Interlagos, Brazil                              16:00
26 November            Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi                  13:00