Compare the new 2017 Renault with last year’s model

2017 F1 cars

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Renault is seeking major gains with its new F1 car as it begins its second season since taking over from Lotus. Compare their new chassis with last year’s using the interactive images below.

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Use the slider below to transition between images of Renault’s new 2017 RS17and last year’s RS16. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

Top view

The typical differences between this year’s cars and the old, narrower ones are already becoming familiar. The black bodywork on the RS17 – similar to the same used on their pre-season test car last year – masks some of the car’s details, but not the major changes.

The wider nose on the 2017 Renault is closer in style to the version they used in the second half of last season.

Renault said during the launch of the car today that it contained some interim parts which will be replaced before the tests at the Circuit de Catalunya. The floor in particular looks quite basic, lacking the slot gaps seen on their car 12 months ago which were also visible on the Sauber launched yesterday.

Side view

The RS17’s sidepod wings are an obvious example of where the greater aerodynamic freedom for designers has allowed them to create more extravagant shapes. A larger but fairly simple bargeboard has also appeared but the T-tray section has gone.

Renault have displayed their new car with a considerable degree of rake, accentuated by the shark fin on the engine cover.

Front view

Renault RS16, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Renault RS17, 2017

The front-on view gives the clearest impression of the differences between the new and old cars.

Three-quarter view

Renault RS16, 2016
Renault RS17, 2017

As well as its wider and delta-shaped front wing, Renault’s new car also has large flow-conditioning bodywork where the nose meets its wing.

View more pictures of the Renault RS17

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    42 comments on “Compare the new 2017 Renault with last year’s model”

    1. is there any chance to create a scale-version matched, say, on one axle or something? would be very interesting

      1. What happened to the aggressive look? I know more parts will show up in testing and the first race, but it still looks like a minor iteration rather than revolution.

        Formula E seems to have nailed it though, if this goes through.

        1. JackL, it’s a very big if though, since Spark Racing Technology have said before that this is currently just a render that outlines a possible design philosophy for the future. We have no idea if that concept would even work as designed, especially since the renders aren’t even consistent with each other (for example, the first render appears to show a fully enclosed cockpit, but the side view implies that it is an open cockpit).

        2. Newey said on yesterday’s released, interview, that the 2017 changes are the biggest since 09, but still perhaps not as dramatic as 09’s changes were, in line with that it’s natural that the cars don’t feel that detach from f1 cars as 09’s did look like, particularly at the start of that era.

        3. F1 cars are designed by teams to comply with the rules while at the same being optimized for best aerodynamics and mechanical performance. Because every car is designed by the teams themselves there is absolutely 0 reason for the teams to make their cars nicer (apart from the livery). No matter what kind rules you have the teams will pervert any rules to make an ugly car if it gives them more performance. A spec race chassis like formula-e can be designed to look like an attack helicopter, spacestation or a horse with alligator tail. Because it is a spec design all teams must use it.

          F1 would need to go towards far more spec design direction if F1 really wanted to more control over how the cars look. One of the issues with modern f1 cars for example is still the nose. Every car so far has that ugly thumb nose design. No matter how hard fia tries to write rules to eliminate such hidious designs the teams will always go for the ugly design if it gives them even a fraction of a percent of more performance. Formula-e can basically ignore aerodynamics altogether and just make the cars look kewl. By doing so formula-e is leaving a lot of performance on the table but it doesn’t matter because every team has to use the same design.

        4. Not into that Formula E car, looks like something from an Arcade racing game. Design for the sake of it.

    2. *adjusts the slider to 50/50 the back tyres on that overhead shot.

      1. Yup, one of the best things about 2017, aye? :)

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          21st February 2017, 22:30

          I can’t believe how quickly I’ve got used to the bigger tyres. The 2016 tyres almost look a bit ridiculous now!

          1. That is because they were rediculous. looking at the comparison pictures of the sauber they literally look like baloons, they were super bloated and hardly any contact patch. these look like proper tires not only by contact patch but the compound, and the shape is far less round. hopefully it will show in grip aswell.

    3. The car definitely looks a lot better, but I think this shows that it is disproportionately long, with new rear and front wings. It also highlights how silly it looks (in my view) having such a wide floor but bodywork that is basically the same width. I’m not sure if that’s what F1 had in mind originally.

      I think the livery is fine but would’ve been better if they had continued the top section in yellow.

      1. Last year’s cars were disproportionately long, this year’s are better

      2. That’s because the cars are not wider than last year, only longer.

        The only parts of the car that are the intended 2 meters wide are the bigger bargebords that stick out more, the actual body of the cars are the same ‘size-zero’ width.

        1. @jeffreyj That’s not the complete story. To say that only the barge boards are bigger, doesn’t put in perspective everything else: wider tires, wider front and rear suspension (rods), wider front wing (180 vs 165 cm), wider floor (10cm each side), wider diffuser (although this barely does anything aesthetic wise) and a wider and longer rear wing.

          Factually, the teams are only prohibited from change aerodynamics in front of the side pods. The teams are allowed to make the side pods larger, but the reason the first 3 don’t seem to have done that lies in the fact that there are no major engine changes that would require larger side pods.

          I actually feel these cars are the best shaped and proportioned F1 cars since 1996 (although some 2002 cars looked quite alright as well).

      3. @strontium The teams always try to make their cars slimmer, especially after the “coke bottle” effect became popular, I guess that explains why the bodywork doesn’t follow the floor. I’m a bit underwhelmed by the aesthetics changes.

    4. Like the colours, but like all cars we have seen, I don’t like the small nose tip extension.
      I thought they would be gone this year, clearly they haven’t.

      1. The half and half colour scheme is awful especially on the drivers overalls

        1. Glad someone else spotted that too. They look like some bad pajamas I had in the 90s!

          1. @eurobrun Embarrassing. What about Machonda’s onesies?

    5. Now this is how you design a shark fin….it looks amazing – like something from the 21st Century at last.

    6. Is it only me or the airbox/rollhop/fin arrangement looks like it does not belong to this car?

      Same for yesterdays Sauber.

    7. Could someone explain to me why the contact surface of the front tyres is so small?
      And it can only get smaller with added car weight (driver+fuel) and wheel rotation. Hmm.

      1. @damon it is called negative camber, improving grip while cornering, as the weight shifts direction during corners the contact patch increases with that momentum.

        It also helps in the rotation of the tyre, if there was no camber the likelihood of the tyre slipping during the corner would increase and therefore you would have a less stable front.

        It is designed like this to work together with the suspension to improve front stability. Very important in high speed corners

        Don’t know if I made myself clear, with a drawing would be easier to explain

      2. @damon I believe they use negative camber to increase tyre contact whilst cornering. So it’s a performance thing. It can have a negative effect of overheating the front tyres as the inner shoulder of the tyre takes more load, but most, if not all teams usually run negative camber of some kind, in varying degrees.

        1. the only time a car won’t have some degree of negative camber are oval cars that never turn right and they’ll have positive camber on the left and negative on the right (assuming all left turns). Your street car doesn’t see near the turning forces or frequency, so it’ll have -1′ or less while a race car you could see -3′ or -4′. For the rear, they also have negative camber, but less because you have to factor in putting power down on the exit of a corner. More might be better in the corner, but less contact patch on the straight and they can’t put the power down, so they have to find a balance. That’s all going to vary from track to track, so a track with more left turns might use a little more negative camber on the right than the left wheel and reverse for a clockwise circuit.

          Add in caster and toe, not to mention spring rates, shock settings and aero changes and your head can start to spin.

      3. @johnmilk
        Thanks! You made yourself perfectly clear :) Thanks @jamiefranklinf1 too :)
        And that’s what I suspected as well. I knew the contact patch will increase in a corner. What I had forgotten to realize was that it is actually beneficial for it to be a small as possible on the straights, and only increase as a result of the suspension motion in the corners.

    8. I finally realized what the shark fin reminds me of. It’s from the batmobile circa 1960’s. Yes, I’m getting old…

    9. There is almost NO use showing us “front of ’16 side-view” conjoined with “back of ’17 side-view”! Please… do a mirror image of the side-view fronts and side-view backs so we can compare.

      1. Use the slider…

        1. Slider is a fantastic idea. But it still won’t show the difference between the same parts of the car.

    10. In my opinion they should have sticked with last year’s livery, it was more appealing and clever. The matte base with gloss details and black parts were in perfect harmony. This one feels unfinished.

      It also felt during the 2016 season that all the renault motosports categories were connected. For example the FE livery was the same as the F1 but in blue, the gt cars also had similar finishes.

      I’m amazed with the shape of these cars, massive improvement in my opinion.

    11. One of the worst chassis last year (Minecraft design), this year a little bit better. Sophistication is all they need. Good luck!

    12. The head on view looks like when you take 4:3 video and watch it in 16:9.

    13. One Word

    14. I like the shark fin… makes the car looks somehow more……..menacing

    15. The new car doesn’t really look “wider” in these car launches, but I believe it will look much wider when it hits on track.

    16. The new car doesn’t really look “wider” in these car launches, they just look upsized compared to last year, but I believe it will look much wider when it hits on track.

    17. Not as aggressive with the styling as Sauber, although I kind of think Sauber figured they’d have poor performance anyway so might as well make it look as good as possible.

      Bit disappointed Abiteboul didn’t get to go ahead with this BMW-like art car plans. Bringing back a bit of the bumblebee with those stripes is nice though I guess.

      Interested to see how this new concept goes, they seem to have rather large intakes compared to what else we’ve seen so far, I wonder if it’s a requirement of the new engine philosophy and we’ll see the same from STR and RBR given all their shared interest in reliability.

    18. Hey Keith,

      great graphics, this has been a incredible feature here.
      Really nice work and always a wonderful site.

      Just a small FYI, thought I would mention in the first paragraphs, you have the Sauber Text, referencing the Renault slider.


    19. Hi Keith,
      You are doing wonderful in these comparison article, one suggestion though, could you please use the same scale for comparison.
      As of now you are using same style, if it is straight, top or side view for both cars. For example, side by side, 2016 car image is big compare to 2017, but it would be really great if both are same scale to compare actual size. Thanks.

    20. The livery is god awful.
      “Hey guys, let’s slap some black on half of the car”
      i like the accent on the shark fin though

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