Pastor Maldonado was originally going to be Renault's driver for 2016 alongside Palmer, but due to lack of sponsorship payments, he was replaced by Magnussen.
The car was launched on 3 February 2016 with an interim livery in the team event at Paris, France with the car based on the Lotus E23 Hybrid. Their 2016 car was driven out on the first pre-season test at Barcelona, and their real car was unveiled before the 2016 Australian Grand Prix with a full-yellow livery.
In the first race at Australia, Palmer qualified 14th, and Magnussen qualified 15th. In the race, Kevin Magnussen suffered a puncture, but would finish 12th, behind Jolyon Palmer, thanks to a red flag caused by a big crash involving Haas' Esteban Gutiérrez and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.
At the second round in Bahrain, Palmer failed to start the race due to a hydraulics failure. In China, Magnussen finished 17th and Palmer 22nd and last. In Russia, Magnussen secured the first points finish for the team since the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, by overtaking Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on Turn 5.
Overall, the Renault RS16 scored a total of 8 points, and Renault finished a low ninth place in the Constructors' Championship.
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