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F1 2016 Team Preview: Renault

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2016 marks Renault’s full return to Formula 1 as a constructor after six years away, coming at a time when manufacturers have been uneasy about entering the series or increasing their involvement.

The decision to buy Lotus was far from an easy one. Many months of negotiations eventually ended in a deal being signed in December, securing the future of the Enstone operation.

2016 will be a year for Renault to find its feet, but with an all-new driver line-up and engine improvements in the pipeline, it should not be a total write-off.

TEAM: Renault Sport Formula 1 Team
ENGINE: Renault
CAR: Renault R.S.16

2015 STATS (as Lotus)

Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 78
Laps Led: 0
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 11th (Romain Grosjean); 14th (Pastor Maldonado)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 6th

2016 LINE-UP

20. Kevin Magnussen (DEN)
30. Jolyon Palmer (GBR)


The off-track financial troubles that Lotus faced in 2015 were juxtaposed by some outstanding on-track success. The arrival of Mercedes as a power unit supplier gave the team a real boost, while the E23 chassis was very solid. Romain Grosjean led the team’s charge, with the highlight being an unlikely podium finish at Spa on the same weekend bailiffs had been sent to the team’s garage. Pastor Maldonado picked up points every now and then to support Grosjean, but by the end of the year, the focus was on survival.


But survival is exactly what Lotus managed. Renault confirmed in December that it had taken over the team before immediately setting to work on rectifying the team. When Maldonado’s backing fell through, ex-McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen was drafted in to join 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer for his debut season. The lateness of the Renault deal may make the start of the year tough, but there is plenty of positivity at Enstone thanks to the stability offered by the French manufacturer. This year is unlikely to offer much in the way of success, but with two quick drivers and a reputation for building a good chassis, Renault will be hoping to be a part of the tight midfield fight.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.