Current Alpine F1 (Formerly Renault)

Lotus Renault GP

FIA Entry: Renault F1
Car 9: Nick Heidfeld
Car 10: Vitaly Petrov
Engine: Renault V8
Team Principal: Eric Boullier
Technical Director: James Allison
Race Engineer Car 9: Simon Rennie
Race Engineer Car 10: Ayao Komatsu

Stats at end 2010

First Entered 1977
Races Entered 285
Race Wins 35
Pole Positions 51
Fastest Laps 31
Driver World Championships 2
Constructor World Championships 2

Team History

Renault first entered F1 as a constructor in 1977 at the British Grand Prix. At the height of the “garagiste” and Cosworth engines Renault entered a single car, driven by Jean-Pierre Jabouille, powered by a 1.5 litre turbo charged engine. Renault’s experiment with turbo charging probably changed F1 more than any other single event in the sport’s history.

Jabouille won Renault's first Grand Prix in 1979 in France and, up until their withdrawal as a constructor from the sport in 1985; Renault won 15 Grands Prix. They continued in F1 as an engine manufacturer until in 2002 they returned as a constructor having acquired the Benetton (formerly Toleman) team in 2000.

The “new” Renault Team

For 2002 Renault partnered Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button together and the team managed 4th place in the Constructors Championship. Button was dropped for 2003 in favour of the team’s test driver, Fernando Alonso. Alonso repaid the team’s faith by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, the first win for a Renault car since 1983.

Jarno Trulli won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2004 but was replaced by Jacques Villeneuve before the end of the season as he and the team principal, Flavio Briatore, fell out amid claims of favouritism toward Alonso.

The Championship Years

Giancarlo Fisichella was brought in to replace Trulli for 2005 and duly won the first race in Australia. Alonso won the next 3 and a total of 7 in the season to win the Drivers World Championship and give Renault the Constructors’ Title they had long waited for; breaking Michael Schumacher 5 year run of driver's titles and and Ferrari's 6 year long strangle hold on the constructors title.

In 2006 the same pattern repeated, Fisichella took a single victory, Alonso 7 along with both the Drivers Championship and the Constructors Title.

Post Alonso (part 1)

Alonso’s departure to McLaren in 2007, replaced by rookie Heikki Kovalainen, left the team without a star driver to build around and the team struggled. Kovalainen outscored his more experienced team mate but a highest finish of 2nd in Japan was the best result on the track. The team finished 3rd in the Constructors Championship but as McLaren were disqualified from the championship in 2007 the result flatters to deceive.

After falling out with McLaren Alonso returned to Renault for 2008. Rebuilding around him, the car slowly improved and Alonso won races in Singapore and Japan. It later transpired that Alonso’s team mate in 2008, Nelson Piquet jnr, had deliberately crashed during the Singapore race with the collusion of team principal Briatore and Technical Director, Pat Symonds. This emerged in 2009 after Piquet was dropped by the team for Roman Grosjean resulting in Briatore and Symonds being banned from the sport and Renault being given a 2 years suspended ban.

2009 was a lean year for Renault. Alonso managed pole in Hungary but otherwise a single 3rd place in Singapore was the best placing the team could muster. The resulting bad publicity surrounding the race fixing allegations resulted in many of Renault’s major sponsors withdrawing finance from the team and put into question Renault’s continuing presence as an F1 team.

Post Alonso (part 2)

Alonso left for Ferrari in 2010 and Robert Kubica took his place, partnered by Russia’s first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov. At this time Renault sold a 75% share of the team to Luxembourg based venture capital company Genii. Renault continued to provide technical support and engines to the team. Kubica managed some podium places through the season whilst Petrov took some time to acclimatise to F1 with a best finish of 5th in Hungary, matching Renault’s finish in the Constructor’s Championship.


For 2011 Renault sold it’s remaining 25% share to Lotus cars resulting in a change of team name to Lotus Renault GP causing a legal battle with Team Lotus as to who had the rights to use the name Lotus in F1. Renault will also race under a British licence this season leaving F1 without a French team for the first time since 1975.

Renault planned to retain the same driver line up but Kubica crashed in a rally car prior to pre-season testing and has been replaced by former team mate Nick Heidfeld. They will use the R31 chassis.
Alain Prost was arguably their greatest ever driver.

Prost could have been a world champion for Renault in 1982 and 1983 but for reliability.

I think Prost won 9 Grand Prix races for Renault - 3 in 1981, 2 in 1982 and 4 in 1983 - .in a very competitive era against Williams, Ferrari, McLaren, Brabham, Lotus..and then he won another 7 races for the Renault-engined Williams team in 1993.

That's 16 Grand Prix victories for Prost using Renault engines.

I do believe that those 9 wins in 1981-1983 were the most wins by any driver over that stretch. More than Piquet even.
At the 1979 French Grand Prix, the race was won by a French driver (Jean-Pierre Jabouille), driving a French car (Renault), on French tyres (Michelin), using French fuel (Elf) and powered by a French engine (Renault).
At the 1979 French Grand Prix, the race was won by a French driver (Jean-Pierre Jabouille), driving a French car (Renault), on French tyres (Michelin), using French fuel (Elf) and powered by a French engine (Renault).

That was quite an incredible achievement...Yet the French TV cameras totally forgot about Jabouille as they were concentrating on that epic fight for 2nd between Villeneuve and Arnoux, arguably the greatest Grand Prix battle ever captured on film.
Is it true that one of the reasons Prost left Renault was because he was having an affair with the bosses wife? someone mentioned it on here I'm sure but I'd never heard it before
I haven't heard that one. Who was the boss? Gerrard Larousse?

Prost and Renault fell out because they failed to win the championship again and each put the blame on the other in what was a political environment where the effort was, effectively, being funded by the French tax payers.

That plus Brabham-BMW had used illegal fuel which only came to light in the winter after the WDC results were made official.

Ron Dennis offered Prost Watson's seat...and Renault were never the same after Prost left.

McLaren, meanwhile, became a juggernaut.
If you think about it we really shouldn't be surprised Renault have paniced and brought a new driver in when you look at how backwards the team have gone.

At the begining of this season they were nibbling on the heels of the front 3 teams and picked up a couple of podiums. They were certainly dicing with the Mercs. Now the Mercs are miles down the road and their fighting with the Force India's, Sauber and Torro Rosso's. We all said well done and cheered Senna coming 9th and everything but is behind a Force India and a Torro Rosso really where Renault should be? They are well ahead in the constructors but only because of their early season form.

Worrying thing is for Renault this downturn appears to be a trend. They were winning championships in 2006. 2007 the car was better than the drivers showed it to be. 2008 Alonso powered them forward and they had a competitive car by the end of the year but since 2009 they have not even been near a win. Kubica pulled them up by their braces in 2010 but still they were only 5th. This season they would need to more than double their current points total by the end of the season to equal what they did the year before and again they wouldn't get near to Mercedes.

Is the Benneton/Renault/Proton/Lotus team on its way out? Falling down the grid like Williams. Or are they able to come back and mix it at the front again? I really doubt it at the moment.
Yeah, but if Kubica wont be back next year they might as well put some race experience with the team on Senna in case he gets the drive instead.
What we don't know is how many points this car would have got with Kubica at the wheel.

I think the team has taken a step forward with the car since Spa, even if they don't have much to show for it in terms of results. Petrov could have been a strong seventh, perhaps even ahead of the delayed Massa.

Clearly the team has gone through more troubles than most, and the budget is a fraction of what it was when they were winning championships. I still believe the core of the team are strong, James Allison is an innovative designer, and Rob White will give them a good engine for the new turbo regs - but the losses of experienced hands like Pat Symonds and Bob Bell were very regrettable. They'll be fine, but might need to accept that their race-winning days are behind them, for the time being.

I hope the Lotus involvement doesn't turn out badly. Their plans (Lotus') are extremely ambitious.
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