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…
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.
Final season under Lotus name before Renault takeover. Form much improved over 2014, with the Mercedes-powered E23 accumulating 78 points in the hands of Grosjean and Maldonado, the former’s fine third in Belgium being the team’s best result.