Current 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.

2011

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.
 
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