FORMULA 1

Renault celebrates 40 years of racing with a look back at its early years

RENAULT’S F1 BEGINNINGS WERE NOT SPRINKLED WITH VICTORIES, BUT IT ALL CHANGED FAST

On this side of the Atlantic, Renault’s racing achievements are largely known only to Formula 1 fans, but back in Europe, the automaker’s racing arm is nothing short of a juggernaut. In 1977, the automaker effectively started from scratch, entering the last five races of the season with a car that was far from ready.

Those early days were plagued by technical issues, but the company persisted, quickly finding success with its turbocharged cars and driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille, with the 1979 season Renault RS10 becoming the first turbocharged car to win an F1 Grand Prix race.

Renault Racing took a long break from F1 in 1985, becoming an engine supplier for the racing series, but came back in full force in 2002 by buying the Benetton Formula team. Renault F1 really took off in the early 2000s, quickly moving to the top of the field thanks to the driving talents of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella.

As its racing program enters its 40th year, Renault is now a motorsports veteran, having racked up a total of 170 Formula 1 wins, 11 driver’s championships and 12 constructors’ championships.

Editor’s note: Earlier this week Renault announced that its first semester sales has put it in the number one spot as the world’s largest car manufacturer world wide. Renault Nissan beat Volkswagen for the No 1 spot by just over 313 000 units. The sales include Renault, Nissan, Dacia, Mitsubishi. 

Renault also won the first Grand Prix race ever held in 1904.