RE­NAULT

Motor Sport News - - F1 Preview: Teams - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

Car: RS16 En­gine: Re­nault RE16 First GP: Bri­tain 1977 Raced: 300 Wins: 35 Poles: 51 Fastest laps: 31 Points: 1318 Driv­ers’ti­tles: 2 Con­struc­tors’ti­tles:

NUM­BER 20 KEVIN MAG­NUSSEN (DEN)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2014 Races: 19 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0 Points: 55 Best re­sult: 2nd

NUM­BER 30 JOLYON PALMER (GBR)

De­but: Aus­tralia 2016 Races: 0 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 0 Points: 0 Best re­sult: N/A

Red Bull head Di­et­rich Mates­chitz be­lieves the new RB12 chas­sis is one of the team’s finest prod­ucts yet as it aims to be­gin its fight back to the top of the F1 peck­ing or­der.

Red Bull Rac­ing is tar­get­ing third place in this year’s Con­struc­tors’ stand­ings, dur­ing what team head Chris­tian Horner has la­belled a tran­si­tional year. The team will be­gin the sea­son with a spec Re­nault power unit, which will then ben­e­fit from fac­tory up­grades as well as de­vel­op­ment from in­de­pen­dent tun­ing firm Il­mor.

While much of the team’s suc­cess will hinge on the progress Re­nault makes with its up­grades, Mates­chitz said he was happy with what he’d seen so far.

“Though the pow­er­train is ba­si­cally the same as last year, I got the im­pres­sion that Re­nault is push­ing hard with new peo­ple in re­spon­si­ble roles,” he said. “They show pas­sion, a very pro­fes­sional at­ti­tude and a de­sire for suc­cess.

“The new RB12 is one of the best cars we put on track, it’s a mas­ter­piece by Adrian [Newey, chief de­signer] and his team. Our tar­get has to be to be­come third be­hind the two fac­tory teams and then to beat the cus­tomer teams with those [Mercedes and Fer­rari] en­gines.”

The team has re­tained driv­ers Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Daniil Kvyat for this term. Ric­cia­rdo said he was con­fi­dent ahead of his home grand prix in Mel­bourne.

“Test­ing’s been a lot bet­ter for us this year,” he said. “You don’t know where you stand, but we’re bet­ter pre­pared than this time last year so that gives us con­fi­dence. When I’m on the grid on Sun­day, it’ll just be full fo­cus, full de­ter­mi­na­tion, know­ing that I’ve got a bat­tle on my hands, and it’s a bat­tle I’ll look for­ward to.”

The RB12 will fight for third Mates­chitz

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