Today, we have Alonso back to the Alpine F1 team (previously known as Renault F1 team) and fans could not have been more ecstatic. The legend has returned and will partner up with the very talented Esteban Ocon for the 2021 season.
Renault has been in the game since 1977 as both an engine supplier and a constructor. 1977 was the year when the company got the turbo engine into Formula 1 in the Renault RS01. Turbo power was not fine-tuned when it was first introduced, but eventually, over the years, the tech-heads at Renault were going at it and improving every season with it. Until eventually, after 2 years (1979), the team bagged the first turbo-charged win. The first stint in Formula 1 for Equipe Renault lasted only till 1985 after the team failed to deliver a championship even after coming very close with Alain Prost in 1983. Renault continued to supply engines to other teams, even after leaving Formula 1 as a constructor.
The French brand still could not keep their hands off the competition and was itching to get back into it as a full-fledged team rather than just an engine supplier. And then in 2000, Renault was back in Formula 1 after purchasing Benetton Formula Limited for $120 million. The team retained the Benetton name for the 2000 and 2001 seasons and later changed it to Renault F1 for the 2002 season. Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli were spearheading the Renault team for the 2002 season in which they finished 4th in the Constructors standings with 23 points. Renault later dropped the Button from their shirt and replaced it with a budding Spaniard, Fernando Alonso. Little did they know that the kid was going to make history.
Alonso went on to become the youngest F1 driver to bag a pole position back then at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Renault won the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix at the hands of Fernando Alonso and was their first one after winning one back in 1983 at the Austrian Grand Prix. 2004 saw the relationship between Trulli and the then team principal dwindle down but on the brighter side, the team were runners up in the Constructors’ Championship and also won the Monaco Grand Prix thanks to Trulli. The year 2005 was monumental in the history of the Renault F1 team as a young Fernando Alonso in his R25 helped end Ferrari’s 6-year dominance of the Constructors' World Championship. Giancarlo Fisichella who replaced Trulli won the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, which was then followed by three straight wins for Fernando Alonso, giving him a considerable advantage in the Drivers' World Championship. Alonso was also the youngest driver to claim the Drivers’ title at the Brazilian Grand Prix and followed this hot streak by winning the race in China which secured the Constructors' World Championship for Renault. We even saw the R25’s V10 scream its lungs out at the Yas Marina track in 2020 with none other than the prodigal son, Fernando Alonso behind the wheel.
Renault’s 2006 car, the R26 even featured a titanium 7-speed gearbox. The R26 at the hands of Alonso won the opening Bahrain Grand Prix as well as the Australian Grand Prix. The team also secured a 1-2 finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was the first one since 1982. Alonso finished the Silverstone race as the winner, which was also the team’s 200th Formula 1 race. Talk about making a mark in history. Renault was using mass dampers for a long time and the technology was implemented by 7 other teams including Ferrari, but a ruling by FIA on 21 July 2006 saw a ban on using such technology. Renault even supplied engines for the Red Bull Racing team for the 2007 season. Renault as an engine supplier has over 160 wins in Formula 1.
The R25 has shown us what the Renault F1 team is really capable of and in the recent history, they have proved their mettle with very strong performances. Although it will take a huge leap to end Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1 right now, the performances from the Renault team are commendable. For the 2021 season, the team has been renamed to Alpine and we hope the new name gets good luck and fortune for them. All the Formula 1 fans are excited to see the Alonso and Ocon pairing race together and everyone is positive about their progress in the 2021 season.