Renault has launched its new Formula One team at its headquarters outside Paris, returning to the sport as a full constructor.
The French car manufacturer bought the struggling Lotus outfit at the end of last year -- the same team it sold in 2010 -- and is now set to return to F1 with a newly restructured team. Former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen has finally been confirmed alongside British rookie Jolyon Palmer after Pastor Maldonado was dropped in the last week amid late sponsorship payments. GP3 champion Esteban Ocon was confirmed as reserve driver.
The team confirmed a new car will be ready for the first day of testing, known as the RS16, and will run in the black and yellow livery displayed at the event, which is likely to change again ahead of the first race. The Renault F1 team will be led by Renault Sport F1 CEO Cyril Abiteboul, team manager Frederic Vasseur, the former team principal of the championship-winning GP2 team, with ex-Mercedes engineer Bob Bell as chief technical officer.
Renault's motivation for returning as a full constructor is to receive more exposure for its expenditure in Formula One after five years as an engine supplier. Although Renault won four championships with Red Bull during that period, the relationship with the drinks manufacturer became increasingly poisonous in recent years as the French manufacturer struggled to match class-leaders Mercedes under the current V6 turbo engine regulations.
As a full-fledged constructor team, Renault will take full control of its Formula One operation, but has admitted it may take three years to return to the front. A works Renault last tasted title success in Formula One in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso at the wheel.