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BWT Alpine F1 Team

 BWT Alpine

Alpine may be a relatively new manufacturer in the world of F1 but its roots under the Renault guise harks back almost half a century in the top echelon of motorsport.

Employing some of the best and most recognisable names in the sport such as Alain Prost, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo, Renault has enjoyed moderate success across various stints in F1 after initially joining the grid in 1977.

With Alpine hoping to extend its parent company's rich legacy in the future, let's delve into the past for a look at Renault's time in the sport.

Renault's first stint - 1977-1985

Renault entered five races at the end of the 1977 season with Jean-Pierre Jabouille in a single-car entry. The car failed to finish any of the first four before failing to qualify in its fifth.

Having missed the first two races of the following campaign, Jabouille was able to finish five of the remaining 14 races, including scoring Renault's first F1 points with fourth at Watkins Glen in the USA.

The team expanded to a two-car entry for 1979 with a second Frenchman, Rene Arnoux, joining Jabouille. The latter secured the first grand prix victory at Dijon, with Arnoux trailing home third after a titanic battle with Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve. This fight in the final laps will forever be remembered as one of the great F1 duels.

Three victories would follow at the turn of the decade, with Arnoux clinching two in 1980 as the team jumped to fourth in the standings.

Leg injuries in a crash at the Canadian Grand Prix effectively ended Jabouille's F1 career and so for 1981, a youthful Prost was signed into the team. Across the next three seasons, Prost would secure nine race victories, and finished second in the 1983 championship whilst the team finished third twice and second on one occasion.

However, at the end of the highly productive 1983, Prost left the team under a cloud after public comments about a lack of development soured the relationship between both parties.

No wins and only five podiums came from Patrick Tambay and Derek Warwick's partnership in 1984 whilst in 1985 only a further two podiums arrived. François Hesnault's one-off appearance in the German Grand Prix marked the first time a live onboard camera was used in a television broadcast but the team faltered to seventh in the standings. Renault pulled out as a manufacturer at the end of the year.

Birth of Renault's second team - Toleman, Benetton

Whilst Renault was involved in F1 until 1985, the team that would become Renault in the French manufacturer's second stint was finding its feet in F1 at the beginning of the 80s.

Toleman was never a powerhouse in the sport but did provide an all-time F1 great with his opportunity. Ayrton Senna was close to clinching a famous win at Monaco in 1984 when rain triggered red flags, ensuring Prost kept the win for McLaren.

The team was eventually bought by the Benetton family, famous for its clothing range, which after a short time in F1 became world champions in 1994 and 1995 at the able hands of another legend - Michael Schumacher - along with the brains of Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne. These would all go on to establish themselves at Ferrari in the Scuderia's golden age.

As the team's powerhouse nature declined at the end of the 90s and early 2000s, Renault purchased the team in 2000 but held off on the rebrand until 2002.

Renault's return - 2002-2011

Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli led the new era of the team and with multiple points finishes, the team finished fourth in the constructors' standings.

Button made way for Fernando Alonso for 2003 and the Spaniard repaid the faith in his debut year with the team, becoming the youngest driver at the time to win a race in F1 with victory in Hungary. Despite finishing fourth in the constructors' standings once more, progress could be seen from the three further podiums scored by Alonso and the one taken by Trulli.

2004 provided consistent podium finishes for Alonso but it was Italian Trulli who would pick up the only win of the year at a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix, the only win of his career. The team finished third in the standings having broken the 100 point mark for the first time.

Renault's time for supremacy came in successive years in 2005 and 2006 where Alonso finally broke Schumacher and Ferrari's domination in F1.

In 2005, Alonso failed to finish on the podium just four times including the race where no Michelin-tyred cars participated in the farcical US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. The highlight of his seven wins that year was the San Marino Grand Prix where he and Schumacher duelled in the closing stages, finishing just 0.2 seconds ahead of the German.

Giancarlo Fisichella added a victory to ensure the drivers' and constructors' double was achieved before an even more dominant performance in 2006 followed. Fisichella was more consistent and therefore the team's points tally broke the 200-point barrier. Alonso secured another seven wins to take his second world championship and the team's last to this day.

The Spaniard left for McLaren in 2007 and was replaced by Heikki Kovalainen. A winless season for Renault and Alonso's falling out with McLaren meant the Finn was swapped back with the two-time champion for 2008, with Nelson Piquet Jr partnering him in a new-look pairing.

Two victories for Alonso would that year in Singapore and Japan would be his last for the team and Renault's last in F1, although after the Brazilian Piquet was dropped, he would unearth the 'crashgate' scandal that provided Alonso with the basis for his Singapore win.

2010 saw a change in ownership with two new drivers, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov, with only three podiums to come, whilst the Pole's rallying incident ahead of 2011 provided Nick Heidfeld and then Bruno Senna an opportunity with the Lotus Renault team.

Renault's second return - 2016-2020

When Renault effectively left F1 in 2012, becoming Lotus, only engines were provided by the French manufacturer. But in 2016 the outfit took over the team once more. Success took a long time to return to the team as the partnership of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer struggled to advance the team in its first season back, scoring just eight points.

The arrival of Nico Hulkenberg provided a boost and the team responded, climbing to sixth courtesy of the German's consistent point-scoring.

Palmer left ahead of 2018 to be replaced by Carlos Sainz, who added to Hulkenberg's tally to more than double the points-scoring output for Renault, putting the team fourth in the constructors.

Sainz was ousted for Daniel Ricciardo for 2019 but engine issues set the team back, scoring just 91 points as it dropped to fifth in the standings, but in 2020, the Australian gave the team a first podium in F1 since Heidfeld secured third at Malaysia in 2011.

A second podium followed for Ricciardo whilst Esteban Ocon finished second in Sakhir, but it was not enough to jump ahead of McLaren or Racing Point in the race for third.

Alpine - 2021-Present

With Alonso rejoining the team after a two-year sabbatical from F1, optimism was rife in the newly-rebranded Alpine camp.

Results were steady through the year despite a shaky start, with Fernando Alonso reaching the podium in Qatar - his first top-three since Hungary 2014.

It was in Budapest where Alpine's highlight came - a first victory for Esteban Ocon and the team's first since Kimi Raikkonen in Australia in 2013. The results through the season were enough to cement a top-five finish in the constructors' standings.

GBGreat britain
Team Boss:
Otmar Szafnauer
Technical chief:
Pat Fry
full name:
BWT Alpine F1 Team
Cr BWT Alpine

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