Renault goes back to black with RS18 F1 car
Renault has launched its 2018 Formula 1 car, the RS18, and announced Jack Aitken as its reserve driver. It will be the first full season for Carlos Sainz Jr with the Renault F1 team while Nico Hülkenberg returns for his second season.
“Last year Nico gave us exactly what we needed with his experience, knowledge and ability to lead both on and off track,” said managing director Cyril Abiteboul. “Carlos joined us at the end of the season and we thought long and hard about it. A driver change mid-season is difficult from a human side as well as a technical side, but I think it came at the right time and it was well executed. He brought something fresh at the end of the year, and he scored points to help us in the constructors’ battle. Without that, we wouldn’t have finished where we finished.”
Renault chief Abiteboul, who joined in 2014, praised the team’s progression in the constructors’ standings from ninth in 2016 to sixth in 2017, and said, “In many races we were often the fourth-fastest team on the grid.”
The constructor finished sixth in the 2017 F1 standings between Williams and Toro Rosso. For 2018, it has increased its workforce at Enstone and upgraded its factory.
“Amongst several projects, we have acquired new machine tools, the composite department has moved forward a great deal, a paint shop area was created, CFD facilities came on line and we have built new working environments to accommodate our burgeoning workforce,” explained Abiteboul.
“We have recruited over 100 people in the past year, with some very respected names joining the ranks. More will join us over the coming months,” he said.
Newly-named reserve driver Aitken finished as runner-up in the 2017 GP3 Series. The 22-year-old will compete in Formula 2 as a Renault Sport Academy member – no free practice dates have been announced as of yet.