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RENAULT’S F1 HISTORY

Renault has been present in Formula 1 racing since 1977. Let’s take a look back at over thirty five years of F1: a challenge in sporting, technological and – above all – human terms. The result is not just a sporting achievement but also a source of pride for the entire company.

Renault makes its debut, with turbo technology 

Jean-Pierre Jabouille during a test drive on the Castellet race track (1977)

Who’d have believed it?

 

Renault caused a few smiles when it entered F1 racing in 1977. What was a volume manufacturer doing in the closed world of Formula 1? It has to be said that although Renault’s first sports model was equipped with a revolutionary turbo engine, it had an unfortunate tendency to finish the race in clouds of billowing smoke. As a result, the British dubbed it with the rather unkind nickname of Yellow Teapot.

 

First successes

 

Led by Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux, the Renault team gained in confidence over the years. The technology improved and the drivers became more assured. The first success came in 1978, when the team took fourth place in the USA. In 1979 Jabouille won the French Grand Prix. At which point the skeptics started to sit up and take notice.

 

Aiming for the top

 

Alain Prost joined the team in 1981. The future quadruple world champion won three Grand Prix events in France gave Renault a third place in the Constructors’ championship. The following season, the team won four Grand Prix events and consolidated its position, representing a great technical and human achievement for Renault.


Renault, a talented engine manufacturer 

1991 - Canada Grand Prix, Nigel Mansell

At the end of 1986, after several highly successful seasons, Renault disbanded its team in order to focus on engine development. A recognized innovator and trailblazer, Renault became the official engine manufacturer of other teams. A fruitful partnership with the Lotus team, lead by Ayrton Senna, paved the way. Between 1989 and 1997, Renault supplied engines for the Williams team and then for Benetton.

 

With its V10 engine, Renault wrote a new page in the history of F1 racing. It was a strategy that clearly paid off, since Renault was recognized as the best engine manufacturer of the 1990s. The V10 engine ultimately gained more than 4,000 rpm and became 20 kg lighter. And the sporting results speak for themselves: Renault picked up 11 titles as an engine manufacturer through its partnerships with Williams and Benetton.

The age of maturity: 100% Renault 

2006 - Canada Grand Prix, Montréal, Renault R26 and Fernando Alonso

It was only in 2002 that Renault returned to the track, making its comeback with a 100% Renault car: the R202. Straight away in 2003, Renault notched up two pole positions, four podium places and one win. The secret? A closely knit team and – above all – the arrival of a young driving ace: Spain’s Fernando Alonso.

 

That year, the charismatic young driver became the youngest Grand Prix winner in history at the age of just 22 years and 26 days!  The alchemy between Renault and Alonso continued to work in 2005, when the team and its young protégé won both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ world championship titles. At the age of 24, Fernando Alonso became the youngest world champion in history.

 

After a nailbiting season, Renault managed to clinch both titles once again in 2006. After a low-key season in 2007, Renault had better times 2008 with two victories by Fernando Alonso.

 

At the close of a difficult year 2009, Renault restructured its involvement in F1 and sold a majority stake in the Renault F1 Team to Genii Capital, however still retained a 25% share in the team (the remainder of its shares in the Renault F1 Team being sold in end 2010).


Back as an engine supplier 

2013 - Quadruple world champions thanks to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel.

2010 proved to be a magical season for Renault as a leading engine supplier, with nine wins throughout the year with Red Bull Racing and a clean sweep of the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix. Of course the season finale brought the ultimate prize: the drivers’ and the constructors’ championships to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing respectively.

 

In 2011, Renault Sport F1 continued to support teams by supplying engines and its expertise. With Red Bull Racing, Renault won the constructors' championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.


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