Having been behind the first technological revolution in F1 with the turbocharged engine, Renault repeated the feat with the normally-aspirated V10 unit that powered Williams and Benetton to world titles between 1992 and 1997.
At the end of 1997, Renault decided to step back from F1, but the Viry-Châtillon teams were already studying a potential return to the sport. In 2000, Renault took over the Benetton team based in Enstone.
Renamed the Renault F1 Team in 2002, the partnership between Enstone and Viry-Châtillon gradually moved up the ranks. The team claimed its first win at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix before also prevailing at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, both with its wide-angle engine and its more traditional successor.
In 2005, Renault’s aim was clear: win the world championship title as a works team. Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso were tasked with leading the team to glory in an R25 designed to meet the new regulations. The new car boasted an innovative front suspension system to combat the outlawing of tyre changes, improved aerodynamics and an engine capable of running in two successive Grand Prix.
After a spectacular start to the season, driven by the brilliant Fernando Alonso, Renault moved clear in the overall standings in spite of efforts of Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes.
Despite the pressure applied by this world class opposition, Fernando Alonso held firm and won, at just 24 years old, his first Drivers’ F1 world championship. Renault, meanwhile, became the first mainstream manufacturer in F1 history to win both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles!