This is the 2017 season Renault R.S.17. On the face of things, it replaces the 2016 R.S.16, but in a way it’s finally a successor to a car that made its debut five years ago.
Behind every Formula One team name there are a couple old versions from previous owners. Red Bull used to be Jaguar, which used to be Stewart, for instance. Renault as it stands used to be Lotus, which was Renault before that, which was Benetton before that and Toleman all the way back in the early ‘80s.
For Renault, these name changes also catalogue money problems, and the team that has through its whole history been based in Enstone in the UK has been updating the 2012 Lotus E20 all the way through last year, as Racecar Engineering reports:
Built to the new for 2017 Formula 1 Technical Regulations the RS17 is the first all new car from Enstone for some time (the RS16 was a mildly updated Lotus E21, itself an update of the E20).
Not only is this an all-new chassis for the car, it’s the first time in a long time that the engine and the chassis have been designed together, as Renault Sport’s Engine Technical Director Remi Tafin explained to Racecar Engineering:
“If you were able to be part of the team and look at the naked car and could evaluate the architecture, you would be able to see a lot of difference between last year’s unit and its installation and this year’s. The power unit is made to suit the car, and this is a fundamental difference. The engine and the chassis fit together, and not like a puzzle with the R.S.16! The R.S.17 is far more homogeneous.”
This is a trick F1 has known since the Cosworth DFV was designed in conjunction with the Lotus 49 back in 1967.
It’s very cool to see all of the technical details and winglets on these new 2017 F1 cars, but it’s also neat to see an almost-there team like Renault get itself in shape. Hopefully we see some good competition from the team.