The destiny of Renault and the French Grand Prix has been irresistibly linked for more than a century. With just a few days left before the return of the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard, we look back at this history that includes 10 victories, 13 pole positions and 26 podiums…
In 1906, Renault wrote one of the finest pages in motor racing history by winning the first-ever “Grand Prix” organised by the French Automobile Club at Le Mans.
As a nod to this legacy, it was also in France that Renault created another exploit. Two years after their debut in F1TM, Renault was the first constructor to win a Grand Prix with a turbo engine at Dijon with driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille. His team mate René Arnoux was just barely beaten by Gilles Villeneuve in their legendary duel.
Over the years the pole positions and trophies kept coming thanks to Alain Prost, René Arnoux, Patrick Tambay and Ayrton Senna. In 1981, Alain Prost won his maiden Grand Prix at Dijon, thanks to the inventiveness of the Renault engineers. In 1983, the “Professor” and Renault won again, this time at Castellet.
After a brief pause, Renault returned with a V10 normally aspirated engine that scored a podium result in its first French Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell won at Magny-Cours in 1991 and 1992. A year later, Alain Prost took his sixth victory in France and 100th podium result in F1TM.
Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher continued this invincibility just until 1996. That year, Renault-powered cars took a historic sweep of the top four at Magny-Cours!
At the turn of the 21st century, Renault made its third return to F1TM. Making progress from one year to the next, Fernando Alonso and the team lost a close battle to Michael Schumacher, but the Spaniard got his revenge in 2005, the same year Renault won its first constructor’s title.
A rise in power that now inspires Renault Sport Formula One Team to reclaim the crowns…