In Depth

Renault RS 2027: Is this the future of F1?

Electric pit stops, closed cockpits and LED wheel caps all feature on the futuristic race car

Renault has revealed its interpretation of what F1 cars may look like in ten years' time, debuting its radical RS (Renault Sport) 2027 concept at this week's Shanghai Motor Show.

The futuristic prototype features a closed cockpit design for better driver protection, as well as autonomous safety systems that only activate when the vehicle detects a crash is unavoidable. 

According to Autocar, the RS 2027 is powered by a 1,341bhp turbocharged V6 engine and a "two-part kinetic energy recovery system". Weighing in at just 1,323lbs, it has a power-to-weight ratio of 2235bhp per ton, which the magazine says is 1,000bhp more than today's Formula 1 cars. 

A hybrid powertrain allows the RS 2027 to go through the pit lane on electric energy alone. Renault also hopes that battery technology will evolve to the point where fuel tanks can be reduced to half their current size.

Unlike the current rear-wheel drive F1 cars, the single-seater concept directs power to all four wheels through "very high-density batteries", the company says. The rear wheels can also gradually turn in a system similar to that found on the Mercedes AMG GT R road car

There's a greater emphasis of fan involvement, too, as Renault says the RS 2027 transmits telemetry from the car directly to viewers. In addition, LED wheel caps could be used to show fans what lap the driver is on. 

It's not the first time a Formula 1 team has imagined what future single-seating racing cars could look like: McLaren revealed its radical MP4-X F1 car in 2015. Like the RS 2027, the Honda-powered concept featured a closed cockpit and retained its hybrid powertrain. 

While Renault and McLaren's concepts are not expected to reach production, AutoExpress says F1's new owners Liberty Media "have vowed to make improvements to the spectator experience". 

The RS 2027 "is a clear statement of intent from the French brand", adds the magazine, and indicates "how it would like the sport to develop over the next decade".  

The Shanghai Motor Show runs from 21 to 28 April. 

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