The RS01 appeared cumbersome and overweight and indeed it was. But it was nothing more than an experimental test car at this stage, and Jabouille, who was also the team's driver, worked hard to develop it. The engine block was made in cast iron to withstand the pressures of turbocharging, whilst the chassis itself was kept as uncomplicated as possible to aid development.
To begin with the car was chronically unreliable and earned the nickname 'the yellow teapot' from rival teams , but Jabouille and the team pressed on throughout the rest of 1977 and 1978 until they brought the car home to its first points, a fourth place at the 1978 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. The car had been developed so much it barely resembled the chunky machine that it had been when it first appeared, and the team's performance had picked up throughout the season. Reliability had started to be found, and the yawning turbo lag had been overcome by using twin turbochargers. The RS01 started the 1979 season for team and Jabouille used the car to score the first pole position for a turbo car at Kyalami. Within three years most of the other teams would begin adopting turbochargers for themselves.