Renault has kept a lid on its expectations on its return to Formula 1 as a constructors in 2016. Matthew Gannon predicts where they can possibly finish this season.
Constructors Championship - 7th.
The Renault works team is back in Formula 1. For the first time since 2010, Renault are not just a supplier, in fact they're not a supplier at all. Renault will have a better engine than the rebadged Tag-Heuer Red Bull are using and Renault will get the upgrades. Whilst they may be quicker down the straights, they'll be far from quick compared to Ferrari and especially Mercedes. Expect them to control the McLarens and Saubers, although close battling shall be ensured all season. The Red Bul's may be a little too far up the road, though F1 is unpredictable, so who truly knows?
Jolyon Palmer - 19th.
Don't get me wrong, Jolyon is quick. He has a mature young head that will more than make up for the lack of experience. But the car will make it a struggle to score points and with a lack of race craft over the length and intensity of a Formula 1 race, the year may be a few sporadic good results dotted in a sea of poor reliability and poor results... and Australia may be one of the struggles.
Kevin Magnussen - 13th.
Two years ago K-Mag debuted with a fantastic second place. This time, however, the Renault is far from the McLaren-Mercedes he was driving 24 months ago. The Great Dane is quick, quicker than most, and many consider it a huge mistake for McLaren to let him go. McLaren's loss however is Renault's gain and Magnussen's second chance will be a good test. The goal this season will no doubt be to beat McLaren and show Ron Dennis what his true worth.
Palmer's inexperience showed as he wound up pre-season in 18th, behind Force India test driver Alfonso Celis. By contrast, Magnussen finished the test 12th, ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull. Renault racked up mileage worth 776 laps, with only three teams lodging lesser number of laps than the French outfit (McLaren, Manor and Haas). Expect a divide in class between drivers and while Magnussen may be knocking on early points, for Palmer even finishing would be a strong result in order to build up his experience behind the wheel.
by Matthew Gannon