The future over the Enstone based Formula One team that was a hot topic during 2015 is finally resolved with Renault having bought the outfit. It is the second time that Renault will have owned the team, the first being between 2000 and 2010.
Many will hope, expect or want Renault to be challenging the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari at the very front of the grid. However, this is unlikely in the upcoming season, which should be seen as one of transition.
It is important to remember that under the previous ownership the team had financial issues which impacted on the team’s ability to retain staff and to develop their car. This naturally means that the team will need a few seasons to rebuild itself into a more robust outfit that can better challenge other teams.
With this in mind, potentially their main and most important task for 2016 is that of recruitment.They have already begun hiring in personnel and this is likely to continue throughout the season.This process may take even longer as some personnel often find themselves being put on gardening leave by the employer they are leaving.
It will be interesting to see what people think of the team’s 2016 chassis and how much of an impact the uncertainty over the future of the team had on the initial development of the car. It will therefore also, subsequently, be interesting to see where Renault initially fit in the 2016 field.
Although there is likely to be a major overhaul in regulations for 2017, the team will surely want to be able to develop their 2016 chassis further into the season than they did with last year’s car. Having said that, they may look at 2017 the same way the likes of Honda/Brawn looked at 2009 and Mercedes looked at 2014, deciding to focus sooner and more of their resources on the following year in the hopes to gain an advantage, or recover a deficit, over other teams.
Obviously, with Renault now having their own team they will have, you would think, more freedom in developing the engine. This has been the major issue for them since the new V6’s were introduced in 2014 as they have struggled to make it reliable or competitive. These two issues have been a catalyst for Renault ultimately deciding to become a fully fledged team once again.
These are just a few areas that Renault will need to address in 2016, with, undoubtedly, other areas that Renault will want to address including potentially bringing in more sponsors and developing more partnerships.
All of this will take time to address which is why 2016 should be seen as a transitional year. Fans should focus instead on being glad that a major road car manufacturer has remained and increased their involvement in the sport and that they have two promising drivers racing for them in 2016.