Renault officially announced their 2016 staff, car and drivers earlier this afternoon at a press conference in Paris. Among the main announcements was Kevin Magnussen replacing Pastor Maldonado as the lead driver and the newly appointed racing-director Frederic Vasseur, who will report directly to Racing Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul.
Renault have also announced a partnership with Infiniti who previously sponsored rivals Red Bull, whilst also keeping partners such as Total, Microsoft, EMC and Gravity Motorsports (an affiliate of the Genii Capital Group).
The new staff at Renault includes Bob Bell being appointed as Chief Technical Officer. It also included Nick Chester’s transition to the role of Chassis Technical Director and Rémi Taffin being chosen as the Engine Technical Director.
In terms of drivers, Kevin Magnussen will lead the team along with 2014 GP2 Champion and Formula 1 rookie, Jolyon Palmer. Magnussen replaces Maldonado who drove for Lotus last year. Renault also announced that they have signed GP3 race winner, Esteban Ocon in a development role.
The 2016 chassis was also unveiled: the R.S 16. The chassis design is similar to Lotus’s 2015 E23 and the livery has changed to a prominent black. This livery has been rumored to change before the start of the 2016 season. Chester commented on the new chassis saying: “We want a stable base to enable us to introduce developments through the year. The first iteration shouldn’t have any surprises but we’ll be working on a number of aspects to improve the car through the season as well as lay the groundwork for 2017 and beyond”.
We will get a first true glimpse of the new Renault team and chassis in action during pre-season testing, which begins on February 22nd at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.