The Renault Formula One Team returned to track action for the first time since the end of the 2009 Formula One season as winter testing got underway at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya in Montmelo on Monday morning.

Renault have returned to Formula One team ownership after purchasing a majority shareholding in the Lotus F1 Team from Genii Capital and Gerard Lopez.

The Enstone outfit has been rebranded as the Renault F1 Team with Bob Bell returning to the team as chief technical officer. Jolyon Palmer was in action for the Enstone outfit on Monday completing 37 laps in the RS 16-1 ending the day in 11th place with  fastest time of 1m 29.356s.

Speaking following his day in the car, Palmer commented by saying:

It was great to take to the track for the first time in the car I will race this season. We didn’t have too exciting a programme to run through today and it was somewhat disjointed, but it was the first day of testing and we’ve completed valuable aspects of the pre-season build-up today. I’m looking forward to getting more running in the car tomorrow.

The return of Renault as a works manufacturer means that there are now three works outfits in Formula One with Ferrari and Mercedes.

Renault spent the opening day of testing completing initial shakedown tests and installation assessments and speaking following the action on track, Renault Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester commented by saying:

Today saw the first steps of the R.S.16, a car that has been delivered by everyone at Enstone and Viry to a very short and exacting timeframe. We were circumspect with our programme today but it was a testament to all the hard work from everyone involved that we could take to the track at 9am. We did experience a number of growing pains today, mainly on the software side, and we’re looking forward to getting some more laps on the board tomorrow.

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