The 2016 season saw Renault return as an F1 works entry following their takeover of the Lotus team - the Enstone-based squad which the French automaker previously ran from 2002 to 2011. It wasn't just the team name that changed: Mercedes engines inevitably made way for Renault’s eponymous power unit, as the new management embarked on a long-term restructuring programme aimed at returning the famous marque to race-winning glory…
Rise up the grid continues apace, seeing off Haas to become ‘best of the rest’ behind the top three teams. Not quite podium contenders yet – fifth places in Azerbaijan and Germany are their best results – but their obvious potential lures Daniel Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019, replacing Carlos Sainz.
Huge strides are made with the team’s first car designed around their own powerplant, resulting in a sevenfold increase in points scored and a four-place leap in the standings. Jolyon Palmer replaced as Nico Hulkenberg’s team mate mid-season, with Carlos Sainz joining to form one of the grid’s strongest driver line-ups.
A tough year of transition, as the R.S.16 car - originally designed around a Mercedes engine - proves far from competitive in the hands of former McLaren racer Kevin Magnussen and former Lotus tester Jolyon Palmer. Score on just three occasions, with a best of seventh for Magnussen in Russia, and finish a lowly ninth in the final standings.