The French car-maker Renault revealed neither its 2016 F1 car nor the race livery as the wraps came off a mostly black single seater during Wednesday’s Paris event.
“Here is the Renault RS16 that you will see in Barcelona in two weeks,” declared the Renault, Chairman and CEO of Japan-based Nissan Carlos Ghosn.
It soon emerged, however, that the mainly black livery is just an interim solution for testing.
“We’ll be a different colour by the time we get to you!” Renault said on Twitter, replying to a message from the British grand prix host Silverstone.
Not only that, the chassis displayed to the international press on Wednesday was actually a ‘show car’ — basically a re-painted 2015 Lotus, as the 2016 edition is still being put together at Enstone.
“It’s a show car,” confirmed managing director Cyril Abiteboul. “The real one will be assembled next week.
“We are not launching (now) but it (the 2016 car) will be at the test,” he revealed.
“It will be with this livery but it will be the 2016 car. Then closer to Melbourne there will be a reveal of what the final colours will look like.”
Reportedly, when the 2016 version is finally revealed at the forthcoming Barcelona test, it will not appear vastly different from its 2015 predecessor.
“The RS16 is basically the car from the last round of the championship last year, adapted to the new power unit,” a source told Livio Oricchio, a respected correspondent for Brazil’s Globo Esporte.
Nick Chester, the chassis technical director, doesn’t deny it.
“It’s been a super compact programme, but we’ve seen with the homologation of the chassis that we can react quickly and do a great job.
“We want a stable foundation for development during the course of the season,” he said. “The first car on the track should not present any surprises.
“We will work on many areas to make the car better and lay the basis for the project for 2017,” the Briton added.