LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Renault unveiled their 2017 Formula One car on Tuesday and said it targetted fifth place in the championship and possible podium finishes after struggling among the backmarkers last season.
The former world champions, who returned as full constructors in 2016 after taking over the failing Lotus team, finished ninth out of 11 last year with drivers Kevin Magnussen of Denmark and Briton Jolyon Palmer.
Magnussen has since left for U.S-owned rivals Haas F1 and been replaced by experienced German Nico Hulkenburg from Force India.
Russian Sergey Sirotkin retains the role of development driver.
The team, whose engine plant is in France and main factory in England, have invested heavily in adding headcount and infrastructure over the past year with the aim of returning to the top by 2020.
“We expect to be fifth in the championship,” Renault Sport Racing President Jerome Stoll told the audience in a central London hall before the black and yellow RS17 car was presented to pounding music and strobe lights.
“We are hungry for the podium, hungry for success,” said Stoll.
Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul, who has effectively been running the team since the departure of principal Frederic Vasseur in January, said the key word for the year ahead was ‘integration’. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Richard Lough)