- This article is about Renault engines. For the team which competed as Equipe Renault Elf from 1977-1985, see Equipe Renault. For the team which competed as Renault F1 Team from 2002-2011, see Renault F1.
|Full Name||Renault Sport (1977-2009)
Renault Sport F1 (2010-2013)
|Formula One World Championship|
|Years Active||1977-1986, 1989-1997, 2001-2013|
|First Grand Prix||1977 British Grand Prix|
|Final Grand Prix||2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
Renault Sport F1, previously know as Renault Sport, was the department of Renault responsible for the running of the Formula One team and building and supplying engines to the team along with customers. Renault have supplied engines at various times since their entry into the sport in 1977, and have since become one of the most sucessful engines makes in the World Championship.
From 1983 to 1986, Renault became engine supplier to Team Lotus with its iconic John Player Special livery. Though not competitive initially, with the recruitment of genius designer Gérard Ducarouge the marque gained competitiveness towards the later part of the 1983 season into 1984, with Nigel Mansell and Elio De Angelis scoring regular podiums. Rising superstar Ayrton Senna joined Team Lotus in 1985 and the combination of his immense speed, talent and the superfast, but thirsty Lotus 97T notched up numerous pole positions and grand prix wins, but chronic unreliability prevented a sustained attempt at either title. In 1986, aristocrat Johnny Dumfries was chosen to be Senna's new partner after Senna vetoed the original choice of Derek Warwick. More pole positions and occasional wins followed with the Lotus 98T but the tallies could have been improved further with better reliability or fuel consumption lasting the full race duration. In the four seasons between 1983 to 1986, Team Lotus with Renault engines scored 19 pole positions and 5 Grand Prix victories. This period helped to launch Ayrton Senna to superstardom.
Williams and BenettonEdit
Renault Sport pulled out completely from Formula One after the 1986 season but for only a brief sabbatical until they renewed their involvement in 1989, when they became an engine supplier to Williams and by the sixth round in Canada, the team had already secured their first Renault powered victory. Renault had also pioneered the first pneumatic valved V10 engine in F1. Williams enjoyed signs of promise for the next 2 years and by 1992, with the aid of active suspension, the Williams-Renault was a World Championship-winning car, winning over half of the races during the season.
Williams perfected their active suspension for 1993 and won the Constructors' Title in yet another dominant year with Alain Prost winning 7 of the 16 rounds. 1994 would prove to be the only time Renault did not win the Drivers championship after Williams driver, Ayrton Senna, the favourite to win the title, was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. This left the Brazilian's inexperienced teammate, Damon Hill, to take Senna's seat as team leader, but by the French Grand Prix, Hill was 37 points behind Championship leader Michael Schumacher. After a series of disqualifications for the German, Hill managed to close the gap down to 1 point before the last race in Adelaide, but the two drivers collided controversially and both retired from the race, making Schumacher the drivers' champion. Schumacher was the only driver to win a Drivers title during the time between 1992 and 1997 without a Renault engine, but Williams still retained the Constructors' championship.
Benetton acquired Renault engines for 1995 and their driver, Michael Schumacher, managed to successfully defend his Drivers title by 33 points from his nearest rival, Damon Hill, while Benetton won their first, and only, Constructors title by 29 points. Williams won the next two seasons in both the Drivers' and Constructors' championship with Damon Hill winning the title in 1996 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.
Renault pulled out of Formula One at the end of 1997, coinciding with the departure of Adrian Newey, the head of Williams' design team, who had designed all of the Renault powered Williams' from 1992 onwards. However, the power unit was still bought by teams 'off the shelf' for several years afterwards by Benetton (where the engine was re-badged as Playlife), Williams (where it was re-badged as Mecachrome) and BAR and Arrows (where it was re-badged as Supertec).
On September 15, 2006, Renault announced that it had agreed to supply Red Bull Racing with engines in 2007 and 2008. On November 1, 2006, Red Bull Racing confirmed the use of Renault engines and the transfer of the Ferrari units to Scuderia Toro Rosso.
On 5 November 2010, Lotus Racing announced that they would use Renault engines for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.