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To teams

Alpine F1

Esteban Ocon & Fernando Alonso
Nationality gbr Brittish
Home base Enstone, Groot-Brittannië
Active since 2021
Teamboss TBA

F1 season 2021

WC Position 5
WC points 104.0
Podiums 1
Pole positions 0

F1 history

World titles 2
WC Points 1609
Podiums 101
Pole positions 51

After 2020, Renault decided to rebrand their Formula 1 team as Alpine F1. While 2020 saw Renault finish fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, there is a sense of optimism surrounding the team as Esteban Ocon will be partnered by the returning Fernando Alonso to form one of the more interesting driver pairings on the grid.

Origins

Renault's first involvement in F1 dates back to the 1977 season. The team competed in the final rounds of the campaign, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving the Renault RS01 that featured the first regularly used turbo engine in F1 history, the Renault-Gordini V6 1.5 L.

Initially scheduled to debut at the French GP, the car wasn't ready and made it's debut the following round at the British GP. Renault missed the next two events in Germany and Austria in an attempt to improve performance. The team failed to qualify in Canada as 27 drivers entered but one would not qualify, which ended up being Jabouille. As a result Renault opted not to travel to the season finale in Japan.

Unfortunately for Renault the car and engine proved incredibly unreliable, earning the nickname of "Yellow Teapot" and failing to finish any of its races.

Things didn't improve all that much the following year as blown engines resulted in four consecutive retirements, though there were signs of progress towards the end of the season. The RS01 qualified third on two occasions, while a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen near the end of 1978 gave Renault their first F1 points.

The team expanded to two cars in 1979 with Rene Arnoux joining Jabouille. The latter took pole position at the third race of the season in South Africa, while Renault introduced a new ground-effect car, the RS10, by mid-season. Renault finally emerged onto the F1 scene at the French GP, with Jabouille and Arnoux qualifying one-two. The former took the chequered flag ahead of Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve, who finished just 0.024s ahead of Arnoux.

Arnoux showed Renault's pace was no fluke at the following race at Silverstone, finishing second while the team finished the year sixth in the Constructors' Championship with 26 points.

Success continued in 1980 as Arnoux took consecutive wins in Brazil and South Africa, however Jabouille continued to have issues with retirements. Nevertheless his only points finish was a memorable one as he took the Austrian GP ahead of eventual World Champion Alan Jones, with Renault ending the year in fourth. Alain Prost joined the team in 1981, taking three victories in his maiden campaign while teammate Arnoux's best result was a second-place finish in Austria to help Renault finish third in the standings.

Prost just misses out on Drivers' Championship

Prost and Arnoux split four wins in 1982 with the former finishing fourth, 10 points back of champion Keke Rosberg while Renault finished third. Arnoux left for Ferrari in 1983 while Prost had his best season to date, winning four races while battling with Brabham's Nelson Piquet for the World Championship. Unfortunately his push fell just short as Piquet took the title thanks to a third-place finish at the season-ending South African GP after Prost retired with engine problems. Renault also finished second in the Constructors' Championship, 10 points back of Ferrari.

Unfortunately Prost's time with the team came to an end just days into the 1983 season following his public comments criticising the team's lack of development of the Renault RE40 that saw him lose to Piquet. As a result he moved to McLaren while teammate Eddie Cheever left for Alfa Romeo. Patrick Tambay and Derek Warwick were brought in and finished on the podium a combined five times, with Tambay starting on pole in France, however the team finished fifth in the standings. The team took a further step back in 1985, failing to record a win and only finishing on the podium twice as the likes of Lotus and Ligier did better jobs with turbo engines. The team did achieve an F1 first however, running a third car at the new Nurburgring that featured the first in-car camera that was viewed by a television audience.

Unfortunately financial problems hit the team as Renault could no longer justify the large fees needed to operate the team. As a result CEO Georges Besse scaled down Renault's F1 involvement from full team to just engine supplier for the 1986 season, and then entirely out of F1 at the end of the year.

Renault return as F1 team

Renault purchased Benetton Formula Limited for $120 million in March 2000, marking the French manufacturer's return to the F1 grid. Benetton started as Toleman Motorsport in 1981 before being bought and renamed by Benetton Formula in 1986 after being purchased by the Benetton family. The team moved to Enstone from Witney, Oxfordshire in 1992/93.

Despite the purchase, the team continued to use the Benetton constructor name in 2000 and 2001.

The duo of Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button made up Renault's line-up in 2002 and while neither driver managed to finish on the podium, they did combine for four fourth-place finishes to end the year fourth in the Constructors' Championship with 23 points.

Although Button scored 14 of those 23 points, he was dropped in favour of Fernando Alonso the following year. The move paid off for Renault as the Spaniard won the 2003 Hungarian GP, the first for the French manufacturer since the 1983 Austrian GP. Renault ended the year fourth in the Constructors' Championship, 62 points up on BAR-Honda but 54 back of McLaren for third.

Trulli and Alonso returned for the following season however the Italian's relationship with the team, particularly team principal Flavio Briatore, began to sour. Although Trulli took victory in Monaco, many point to the French GP as the moment the relationship became unsalvageable.

The Italian was overtaken by Rubens Barrichello on the last lap, costing Renault a double podium finish at their home race. From there Trulli announced he was joining Toyota the following year, though he ended up joining the team for the final two races of the 2004 season. Jacque Villeneuve was brought in as his replacement to try and help Renault finish second in the standings to Ferrari, however they had to settle for third behind BAR.

Alonso leads Renault to glory

Giancarlo Fisichella took over as Alonso's partner in 2005, taking the opening race of the season in Australia after rain affected the qualifying session. However it was the Spaniard who really emerged, winning the following three races.

Although Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren battled back despite reliability woes to make the championship battle interesting, Alonso secured the Drivers' Championship in Brazil. Renault clinched the Constructors' title the following race in China, ending Ferrari's winning run of six years. It was also the first time Renault won the title as a manufacturer, along with being the second French constructor after Matra in 1969 to take top spot.

Both drivers returned for the 2006 season with Alonso winning the season-opening Bahrain GP. He also won in Australia while coming home second in Malaysia behind Fisichella for Renault's first one-two finish since Arnoux and Prost in 1982.

Alonso took four consecutive victories midway through the season to hold a healthy lead in the standings however Ferrari and Schumacher answered back with three straight wins. The two men entered the final two races level on points, however it was Alonso who came out on top after taking the chequered flag in Japan while Schumacher retired with an engine failure. The Spaniard then clinched the title with a second-place finish in Brazil, a result that also helped Renault take the Constructors' Championship.

			© Formula 1 | Alonso na het winnen van het Formule 1-WK in 2005
	© Formula 1 | Alonso na het winnen van het Formule 1-WK in 2005

Decline and race rigging allegations

Fisichella remained in 2007, however Alonso left for McLaren with Heikki Kovalainen stepping in for the Spaniard. The team failed to hit the heights of the previous two years despite finishing the year third in the standings. Renault's best result came near the end of the season when Kovalainen finished the Japanese GP in second spot - their only podium.

The FIA Accused Renault of having McLaren technical information and were charged with breaching article 151c of the Sporting Regulations. Those charges were the same faced by McLaren earlier in the year regarding Spygate, however Renault were not penalised over the matter.

Alonso returned in 2008 and drove alongside the promoted Nelson Piquet Jr. The Spaniard qualified on the front row for the Spanish GP, however it was a rare moment of success as the team struggled for much of the early campaign. Things improved following the German GP, which saw Piquet register the team's first podium of the year by finishing second. Alonso finished fourth in Belgium and Italy before taking the chequered flag in Singapore following Piquet's early crash for Renault's first win since the 2006 Japanese GP. The Spaniard took another win the following race in Japan before finishing the year with a second in Brazil as Renault finished the year fourth in the standings.

Renault started the 2009 campaign with hopes of challenging for both titles, however it was soon clear that those goals were unrealistic. Alonso took pole in Hungary but retired due to a fuel pump failure, while Piquet was replaced by Romain Grosjean for the final third of the season - though neither driver scored a point. Alonso's best result came in Singapore, finishing third however it was little consolation as Renault finished the year all the way down in eighth.

Issues emerged during the season regarding Alonso's 2008 victory in Singapore. While Piquet initially claimed his accident was a simple mistake, after leaving the team in August 2009, allegations emerged stating he had deliberately crashed in order to help Alonso gain an advantage. Renault were charged with conspiracy and race fixing, while team principal Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds initially stated they would take legal action against Piquet. However before a meeting with the FIA World Motor Sport Council, Renault announced they would not contest the charges and that both Briatore and Symonds had left the team.

Renault were disqualified from F1 but decision was suspended for two years, meaning the team would be thrown out if a similar incident occurred before the end of the 2011 campaign. Briatore was banned from all F1 and FIA sanctioned events while Symonds received a five-year ban. Both were overturned by a French court, though both agreed not to work in F1 or FIA-sanctioned events for a specified time as part of a later agreement with the governing body.

Scaled back involvement

Renault sold a majority stake in the team to Genii Capital in 2010, though they still retained a 25 percent stake in the team and continued as engine supplier. Robert Kubica was brought in as Alonso's replacement and partnered with Vitaly Petrov.

Results were better than the previous season as Kubica scored his first podium by finishing second in Australia, while Petrov's first points came via a seventh-place finish in China. Kubica added third-place finishes in Monaco and Belgium to his tally to help Renault finish the season fifth in the standings.

Renault took a further step back in 2011 by becoming only an engine supplier, linking up with Lotus Cars for its remaining 25 percent stake in the team. The team was renamed Lotus Renault GP, though the Renault chassis name continued to be used along with a new black and gold livery reminiscent of the John Player Special livery of the 1980s. The name also resulted in Lotus Racing, who were using a licence from Group Lotus that was later terminated, to rebrand itself as Team Lotus.

The team raced under a British licence in 2011, leaving F1 without a team using a French licence for the first time since the 1975 season. Kubica suffered serious injuries during a rally accident in Italy prior to the start of the season resulting in Nick Heidfeld being brought in as his replacement.

Petrov started the season with a third in Australia while Heidfeld did the same at the following race in Malaysia. Bruno Senna replaced the German for the Belgian GP, collecting two points until the end of the year as Renault finished the year fifth. Renault announced the hiring of Kimi Raikkonen and Grosjean for the 2012 season, with the team now going by the name of Lotus F1 Team.

Return to the F1 grid

Renault announced a takeover transaction was being discussed for the Lotus F1 Team ahead of the 2016 season. The R.S.16 was driven by Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer with Esteban Ocon serving as its reserve driver, though the team ended the year in ninth place with eight points. Frederic Vasseur left his post as team principal at the conclusion of the season following disagreements with team personnel, with Cyril Abiteboul becoming managing director.

Nico Hulkenberg was brought in while Magnussen departed for Haas prior to the start of the 2017 F1 season. Although Palmer returned, he was replaced by Carlos Sainz from the US GP onwards after finishing in the points just once. The Spaniard finished the race in seventh, out qualifying Hulkenberg as well. The team finished the season in sixth place with 57 points.

Renault took a big step forward in 2018 with Hulkenberg and Sainz remaining in the fold. Although the team failed to finish on the podium, they were a constant top-10 threat throughout the season. Their best results came in Azerbaijan and Germany with Sainz and Hulkenberg finishing fifth at the respective events. Renault finished the year fourth with 122 points.

Daniel Ricciardo joined the team on a two-year contract to partner Hulkenberg in 2019. The team didn't have the same success as the previous year, as reliability woes and poor aerodynamic performance prevented them from making that next step up from the F1 midfield. Renault's best result came thanks to Ricciardo's fourth-place finish at the Italian GP, while both cars were disqualified from the Japanese GP due to their automatic brake balance changing system, which was deemed illegal. The team finished the year fifth in the standings with 91 points.

Ocon joined on a multi-year contract for the 2020 season, replacing Hulkenberg, and Renault had an improved campaign. Ricciardo and Ocon finished fourth and fifth in Belgium to bring home 23 points, the most Renault had ever scored in a race.

The Australian came home in third spot at the Eifel GP, Renault's first podium since Malaysia 2011, and followed that up with another third at the Emilia Romagna GP. Ocon did one better at the Sakhir GP, finishing second for his first career podium.

Alpine rebrand

In September 2020, Groupe Renault announced that their works team's new name would be Alpine in an attempt to promote the Alpine marque.

While Ocon was retained for a second consecutive season Ricciardo left the team to join McLaren, with Alpine opting to replace him with Alonso. Other changes included the departure of Abiteboul, with Davide Brivio taking over.

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