Date: 4th February 2016 at 9:47am
Written by:

French car maker Renault will return as a fully fledged manufacturer in Formula One in 2016 after a takeover of the Lotus team.

But after two seasons of struggle as an engine manufacturer for Red Bull Racing, the team are not expecting instant results in the sport.

In fact, after being so close to exiting the sport altogether, their new stance is refreshing, with realistic ambitions which lower expectations.

The French side have a long and illustrious history with Formula One, making their debut in 1977, winning their first race at the 1979 France Grand Prix with Jean-Pierre Jabouille.

As an engine supplier they have won nine Formula One Drivers titles, 1992 Nigel Mansell (Williams), 1993 Alain Prost (Williams), 1995 Michael Schumacher (Benetton) , 1996 Damon Hill (Williams), 1997 Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) and 2010-2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing).

They have also taken ten Formula One World Constructors’ Championships (1992?1997 and 2010?2013) for Benetton, Williams and Red Bull Racing.

As a manufacturer they have also won the Formula One World Drivers Championship with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 and also won back-to-back Formula One World Constructors titles.

Renault power has won over 160 Grand Prix, ranking third in Formula One history.

But any additional victories are a long way off, with the current landscape dominated by Mercedes and Ferrari power.

‘The team has been given the goal to be on podium within three years,’ said Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn toSky Sports.

Some people in the paddock may argue that even Lotus managed to get one podium in 2015, so why have Renault set the bar quite so low?

‘It’s difficult to say at the moment because we’re taking over from the Lotus team which were in a big mess at the end of last year,’ Jolyon Palmer said.

‘Everything’s very positive about Renault now and the team, but first of all we’ve got to see where we are when we start testing in a couple of weeks.

‘This is a rebuilding year. Everything’s a little bit late and not planned as ideal. The long-term goal is very optimistic but we’ll just hold fire on expectations for the moment and see where we’re going to be in a couple of weeks.’