Renault have taken another step towards a return to the F1 grid by revealing their 2016 car, the RS16.
After buying back the former Lotus team at the end of last year, the first of this season's machines to be unveiled retains many features of the 2015 design including a largely black livery.
On Monday the team, renamed to Renault Sport Formula One Team, also confirmed Kevin Magnussen will replace Pastor Maldonado.
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The Dane will partner Jolyon Palmer, who has been promoted from reserve driver, following Romain Grosjean's move to Haas F1, finally earning his shot at the pinnacle of Motorsport since winning the GP2 championship in 2014.
For Renault, it marks a shift in their strategy. After partnering Red Bull in the years since their departure as a works team in 2011, they are now seeking to rediscover success following two difficult years with an underperforming power unit.
It's an interesting decision for Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn to return to F1 as a full works team at a time when the French manufacturer is lagging behind its rivals.
The company has struggled to match the Mercedes and Ferrari engines since the introduction of the V6 turbo hybrid formula back in 2014.
Yet, already competing with the smallest budget of the four engine suppliers, Renault has decided to invest in a whole team rather than improving their power unit.
Of course, attempting to close the deficit between its rivals will be the main focus of 2016, but some will question whether the time, money and resources invested in developing the chassis and other areas would be better used by improving existing projects.
However, in response to improvements made by Honda, McLaren are expected to step up their efforts while Ferrari and Mercedes continue to lead the way in terms of development.
With this in mind, Renault could be towards the back of the midfield battle as the surrounding customer teams benefit from a better power unit.
What's more, Renault could find themselves easily beaten by a team using the same engine thanks to Red Bull's unique aerodynamic features.
It’s safe to say the Enstone-based team will struggle on their return to the sport, however, they will hope the advantage of a bigger budget than their rivals will help them achieve better results as the season progresses.
How will Renault cope in 2016? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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