Say Good Morning To The Renault Sport R.S.18 Formula 1 Car
Renault doesn't plan to gun for the title this year, but it will contend with fierce Renault-powered competitors McLaren and Red Bull.
Renault Sport Formula 1 rounded off the first half of this year's car unveils Tuesday, releasing photos of its own 2018 car, named R.S.18.
The team derives its names from an abbreviation of Renault Sport and the year, a template adopted in 2016 with the R.S.16 when Renault re-assumed control of the Enstone-based team it controlled up through 2010. After parting ways with the Renault name, it operated independently as Lotus between 2011 and 2015.
Renault Sport intends to challenge top teams for the championship in the near future, though this season is likely to be used to build a foundation for future seasons. Investment in drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. will secure the team the talent necessary to win with a competitive chassis, which the team's managing director Cyril Abiteboul says will not arrive until next year.
Hülkenberg, despite proving himself a talented driver, holds the record for most Grands Prix started without a podium finish, a losing streak which a competitive R.S.18 (or R.S.19) could help him break. Sainz was effectively blocked from promotion within the Red Bull organization by the varsity team's satisfaction with its pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, so his only path upward first involved lateral movement to Renault.
Which of the Renault-engined teams—Renault itself, McLaren, and Red Bull—will be quickest is impossible to guess. All three have sublime drivers, radical engineering teams, and significant financial support. Be it from an international automaker, an energy drink producer, or a technical firm, all three are funded generously, though the advantages of being a factory team may manifest for Renault by season's end.