The 2012 title is the 11th constructors’ championship that Renault has taken in the sport.
After joining forces with Williams at the end of the 80s, the first constructors’ championship came in 1992. It was then followed by successive titles in 1993 and 1994. Renault teamed up with Benetton in 1995 and immediately took another crown, before Williams again took the title in 1996 and 1997; the sixth consecutive title to be powered by Renault. After a brief hiatus from the sport Renault returned with the Renault F1 Team and won another two titles in 2005 and 2006. The latest period of success with Red Bull Racing has yielded three constructors’ titles to date.
Briton Nigel Mansell gave Renault its first-ever world championship success, and he did so in dominant fashion. Behind the wheel of a Williams equipped with the RS4 Renault engine, Mansell opened the season with five consecutive victories. His dominance continued throughout the year and he was crowned drivers’ champion at the Hungarian Grand Prix – only the 11th race of the year! The constructors’ title was also secured at the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix. At the close of a classic season, Williams-Renault had raced to 10 victories, 15 pole positions, 11 fastest laps and six one-two finishes.
Williams-Renault continued to lead the field in technical innovation and raced to the drivers’ and constructors’ championship titles for the second consecutive year. The RS5 was fortified and Alain Prost, returning to F1 after a sabbatical, engaged in a thrilling battle with old adversary Ayrton Senna. After three races the Brazilian was ahead in the classification, however the Professor fought back with four consecutive victories mid-season and took the laurels at the Portuguese Grand Prix. At the close of the season Williams-Renault took 10 wins, seven for Prost and three for newcomer Damon Hill, 15 out of a possible 16 pole positions, 10 fastest laps and 22 podiums. Renault also notched up its 50th win in Formula One.
After two fantastic wins in both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles, Renault again secured the constructors’ title in 1994 with Williams, however the season was overshadowed by the tragic death of Ayrton Senna at Imola.
This year a new regulation came into force, with engine capacity limited to three litres. Renault supplied the Benetton team with the new RS7 and Michael Schumacher raced to his second consecutive world title with nine wins. Renault continued its relationship with Williams and the engine secured wins in all but one race that season, with Renault-engined drivers also occupying the top four positions in the championship.
Williams regained its form and Damon Hill finally took the drivers’ championship ahead of rookie Jacques Villeneuve, thereby becoming the only son of an F1 champion to win the crown himself. Hill took eight wins including three successive victories in the first three races of the year and secured the title at the final race of the year in Japan.
After a brilliant rookie season the previous year, Jacques Villeneuve became Williams’ lead driver and immediately found himself fighting for the championship with then double world champion Michael Schumacher. The Canadian took seven wins that year with ten pole positions however the title fight went down to the wire at the final round in Jerez and, after a controversial collision that left Schumacher out of the race – and subsequently disqualified from the championship – Villeneuve was crowned the world champion. After six consecutive titles, at the end of the year Renault pulled out of F1 as an official engine supplier, but its V10 engine became the template for Williams, BAR and Arrows’ powertrain.
After an official withdrawal from Formula 1 at the end of the 1997 season, Renault returned in 2002 as a fully-fledged constructor, taking over the former Benetton team. Equipped with the R25 engine the team made solid progress until Fernando Alonso finally took the drivers’ championship in 2005 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, becoming – at the time – the youngest drivers’ champion at the age of 24 years and 59 days old, breaking Emerson Fittipaldi’s record. Renault also secured the constructors’ title.
A new era started in 2006 – after years with V10 engines, the R26 made its debut in 2006 as Renault’s first-ever V8. The new engine powered Alonso to his second world title with seven wins, including the Monaco Grand Prix, thereby giving Renault back to back victories in the V10 and V8 eras. Alonso thus became the youngest double champion in the sport’s history while Renault also clinched the Constructors’ Championship with a five point gap over Ferrari.
2010: Red Bull Racing
In 2007 Renault branched out to supply engines to other teams and forged a successful partnership with Red Bull Racing, now led under technical director Adrian Newey, who had previous experience of Renault from his time with Williams. An epic three-way battle between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari continued throughout the season, with Sebastian Vettel proving victorious at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, usurping Hamilton as the youngest-ever drivers’ world champion. Renault secured nine wins in total, including an unprecedented one-two-three at the Monaco Grand Prix.
2011: Red Bull Racing
The Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership picked up where it left off and utterly dominated the championship. The RS27 engine powered Red Bull Racing to a total of eighteen pole positions of the 19 available, 12 wins – including at Monaco and Italy – to amass a total of 650 points that saw the team crowned champions at the Korean Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel also eased to a second consecutive drivers’ crown in Japan.
2012: Red Bull Racing
440 points, seven wins, eight pole positions and seven fastest laps secured the third consecutive constructors’ title for the Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership.