The Alpine Renault F1 Team

The Alpine Renault F1 team has a long and storied history in Formula One racing. Founded in 1976, the team quickly became a top contender in the sport, largely thanks to the innovative designs of its founder and chief designer, Gerard Ducarouge.

The Alpine Renault F1 Team was a dominant force in the world of Formula One racing during its time. From its inception in the 1970s to its eventual merger with the Lotus team in the 1990s, the team left an indelible mark on the sport. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history and legacy of the Alpine Renault F1 Team.

The team has had several notable achievements, including multiple race victories, podium finishes, and even a world championship. In this article, we will explore the Alpine Renault F1 team’s history, achievements, and impact on the world of Formula One racing.

The Alpine Renault F1 Team History

The story of the Alpine Renault F1 team is essentially broken into two parts (Alpine and Renault)

The History of Alpine

Before we can understand why the Renault F1 team changed its name to Alpine, we must first understand the Alpine brand’s history and significance.

1955 by Jean Rédélé.

Alpine is a French manufacturer of high-performance sports cars, founded in 1955 by Jean Rédélé. Alpine developed a reputation for building lightweight, agile, and highly capable cars, popular among racing enthusiasts and sports car fans.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Alpine became heavily involved in motorsport, competing in various racing series and events worldwide. The company’s most notable success came in the World Rally Championship, where Alpine won the championship in 1973 with its A110 model.

In 1975, Alpine produced the prototype A500 prototype to test a 1.5 L V6 turbocharged on behalf of the Renault factory team. This car made its first F1 appearance in 1977.

Tolman Racing

The team first competed in Formula One in 1981 as Toleman, based in Wittney, England. Although In its 5 years of existence, Toleman never won a race, it is best remembered for kicking off Ayrton Senna’s career in 1984, during which he achieved 3 podium finishes.

Ayrton Senna (BRA) Toleman TG184

The car was unreliable, and Senna suffered from eight DNFs (Did Not Finish), including his first race at his home in Brazil.

Toleman’s Racing Records Are Listed Below

No Of Grands Prix Raced57
Number of DNS (Did Not Start)46
Number of seasons raced5
Number of engine builders1
Number of drivers10
Number of car models7
Number of pole positions achieved1
Number of fastest laps2
Number of podiums3
Number of championship points26
Points per GP raced0.46
Points per season5.20
Number of laps raced2,893
Number of Km raced13,508

Benneton Enters The Scene

In 1986 the clothing company Benetton purchased Alpine and renamed the team Benneton F1.

Under the Benetton brand, it won the 1995 Constructors’ Championship, and its driver, Michael Schumacher, won two Drivers’ Championships in 1994 and 1995.

Tolman Benneton Schumacher

The time with Schumacher was not without controversy and involved a battle between him and Damon Hill. This led to several incidents, including:

  • A race ban for ignoring black flags at Silverstone.
  • Michael was disqualified in Spa after the team attached skid block wear to the car.
  • The competition between the two in Adelaide proved to be the title decider.

In 1995, after Michael won his second driver’s championship, and Johnny Herbert supported him, Benetton won its first constructors championship.

From then on, the team started a decline which involved Michael moving to Ferrari and the brains trust of Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn following suit.

Renault stopped being the engine supplier, and the writing was on the wall. Banneton remained in control of the team until 2002, after which the team was sold to Renault (for the first time!), and for the 2002 season, renamed it the Renault F1 team.

Benneton’s  Racing Records Are Listed Below

No Of Grands Prix Raced260
Number of DNS (Did Not Start)1
Number of seasons raced16
Number of engine builders4
Number of drivers17
Number of car models20
Number of race wins27
Number of pole positions achieved15
Number of fastest laps36
Number of podiums102
Number of championship points851.3
Points per GP raced3.28
Points per season53.22
Number of laps raced26,036
Number of Km raced122,907

The History Of The Renault F1 Team

The Renault F1 team has a long and storied history in Formula One racing. The team first entered the sport in 1977 and scored their first race victory at the French Grand Prix. The car responsible for this victory was the A500B, further developed by Ducarouge and his team.

The A500B was an evolution of the A500, featuring improved aerodynamics and a more powerful engine. It also had several technical innovations, including a hydraulically-operated clutch and a sophisticated suspension system.

The A500B proved to be a highly competitive car, and the Alpine Renault F1 team scored several podium finishes throughout the season. However, they were unable to challenge for the world championship, which was won by Niki Lauda in his Ferrari.

The Team’s Early Successes And Rise To Prominence

Renault F1 RE30

The Renault F1 team’s next few seasons were marked by ups and downs. They continued to score podium finishes and occasional race victories but could not mount a serious challenge for the world championship.

This changed in 1981 when the team unveiled its latest creation, the RE30. The RE30 was designed by Gerard Ducarouge and featured several technical innovations that would make it one of the most competitive cars of the season.

The car featured a powerful turbocharged engine, which gave it a significant performance advantage over its rivals. It also had a highly aerodynamic body, with a distinctive “shark nose” front end that would become a hallmark of the Alpine Renault F1 team’s cars.

The RE30 was a dominant car throughout the season, with drivers Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux scoring several race victories and podium finishes. Prost, in particular, had an outstanding season, winning four races and finishing second in the world championship.

The RE30B Car

The following year, the team unveiled an evolution of the RE30, the RE30B. This car was even more competitive than its predecessor, thanks to several technical improvements and refinements.

Once again, Prost and Arnoux was a formidable pairing, scoring several race victories and podium finishes throughout the season. Prost went on to win his first world championship, with Arnoux finishing third in the standings.

The team dropped Jenson Button in 2003 to make way for Fernando Alonso.  In 2004 they took on Giancarlo Fisichella.

Although Ferrari and McLaren were strong, Renault beat both to win the 2005 and 2006 championships.

At 24, Fernando became the youngest Formula One World Champion. The invigorated team won 15 podiums and seven wins, earning them the Constructors’ Championship.

The Post Championship Years

Alonso left the team to join McLaren for the 2007 season.

The team never really recovered, and even though Alonso rejoined Renault, he only managed two victories in 2008 and one podium in 2009.

After Nelson Piquet’s 2008 crash in Singapore 2008, the team had to also contend with race-fixing allegations. The findings were that Piquet crashed to bring out a safe car and guarantee his teammate winning.

The punishment was that the team was put on probation. Almost all of the assets were sold to Genii Capital in Luxembourg.

Lotus Renault GP

Lotus joined the team in 2011 to help it recover. Renaults bought most of the team’s assets and renamed Lotus Renault GP. They remained involved between 2011 and 2015. It wasn’t a happy partnership, and the lawyers were often called in to resolve these.

Renault Sport Formula One

After several years of supplying engines to other teams, in 2016, Renault announced that it would return to Formula One as a full works team using the Lotus Renault GP, renamed Renault Sport Formula One.

The Renault F1 team would be based in Enstone, UK, and would be led by Cyril Abiteboul.

The team’s return to Formula One was seen as a positive development for the sport, as Renault has a long and storied history in motorsport and was expected to bring significant expertise and resources to the table.

Despite this, the team has struggled to gain traction, and, at best, they remain in the middle order.

The Name Change – The Alpine Renault F1 Team

Alpine F1

In September 2020, the Renault F1 team announced it would change its name to Alpine for the 2021 season. The process was part of a larger restructuring of the Renault Group’s brands and products, which aimed to increase the visibility and prestige of the Alpine brand.

The decision to change the team’s name was seen as a logical step, given the Renault Group’s increasing focus on the Alpine brand. By aligning the F1 team with the Alpine brand, the Renault Group could leverage its success and visibility to promote the Alpine brand and increase its market share.

Changing the team’s name was also seen as a way to inject new energy and excitement into the team. Despite its long and storied history in Formula One, the Renault F1 team had struggled to maintain its competitive edge in recent years, and a fresh start under a new name could be just what the team needed to turn things around.

What Does This Mean for the Team?

The change from Renault to Alpine represents a significant shift for the F1 team. Here are some of the key implications of the name change:

Increased Visibility for the Alpine Brand

As mentioned earlier, the Renault Group has been seeking to increase the visibility and prestige of the Alpine brand. By aligning the F1 team with the Alpine brand, the Renault Group hopes to leverage the team’s success and visibility to promote the Alpine brand and increase its market share.

A Fresh Start – The Alpine Renault F1 Team

The Renault F1 team has recently struggled to maintain its competitive edge despite investing heavily in the sport. A fresh start under a new name may help the team regain its competitive edge.

New Identity: The name change to Alpine represents a new identity for the team, with a different focus and emphasis. While the Renault F1 team had a long and storied history in Formula One, it struggled to establish a clear identity and vision in recent years. The Alpine F1 team can now build its own identity and vision, focusing on promoting the Alpine brand and its high-performance sports cars.

Potential for More Investment: The Renault Group has indicated that it plans to increase its investment in the Alpine brand to expand its product lineup and market share. This could also mean more investment in the F1 team, aiming to improve its competitiveness and success on the track.

A New Team Principal

With the name change to Alpine, the team also announced that Cyril Abiteboul would be leaving. Laurent Rossi, who previously headed up the Alpine brand, will be the team principal. This change in leadership could bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the team.

Overall, the change from Renault to Alpine represents a significant shift for the F1 team, with implications for the team’s identity, focus, and competitiveness.

The team will be under its new name and leadership, there is optimism that the change could help the team regain its competitive edge and achieve greater success.

Alpine F1 Drivers Through The Years

As listed below, many well-known and iconic F1 drivers have passed through the team.

DriverYears With
The Team
PointsDrivers World
Jean-Pierre Jabouille1977-80210
Rene Arnoux1979-82850
Alain Prost1981-831340
Eddie Cheever1983220
Derek Warwick1984-85280
Patrick Tambay1984-85220
Philippe Streiff19840
Francois Hesnault19850
Jenson Button2002140
Jarno Trulli2002-04880
Fernando Alonso2003-06, 2008-09, 20224682
Jacques Villeneuve20040
Giancarlo Fisichella2005-071510
Heikki Kovalainen2007300
Nelsinho Piquet2008-09190
Romain Grosjean200900
Robert Kubica20101360
Vitaly Petrov2010-11640
Nick Heidfeld2011340
Bruno Senna201120
Jolyon Palmer2016-1790
Kevin Magnussen201670
Nico Hulkenberg2017-191490
Carlos Sainz2017-18590
Daniel Ricciardo2019 – 2021 0
Esteban Ocon2020 – current 0
Pierre Gasly2023 current 0

Renaults Racing Wins

The table below lists all the Renault F1 wins

Year 1906
1French Grand PrixFerenc Szisz
Year 1979
2French Grand PrixJean-Pierre Jabouille
Year 1980
3Brazilian Grand PrixRené Arnoux
4South African Grand PrixRené Arnoux
5Austrian Grand PrixJean-Pierre Jabouille
Year 1980
6French Grand PrixAlain Prost
7Dutch Grand PrixAlain Prost
8Italian Grand PrixAlain Prost
Year 1980
9South African Grand PrixAlain Prost
10Brazilian Grand PrixAlain Prost
11French Grand PrixRené Arnoux
12Italian Grand PrixRené Arnoux
Year 1983
13French Grand PrixAlain Prost
14Belgian Grand PrixAlain Prost
15British Grand PrixAlain Prost
16Austrian Grand PrixAlain Prost
Year 2003
17Hungarian Grand PrixFernando Alonso
Year 2004
18Monaco Grand PrixJarno Trulli
Year 2005
19Australian Grand PrixGiancarlo Fisichella
20Malaysian Grand PrixFernando Alonso
21Bahrain Grand PrixFernando Alonso
22San Marino Grand PrixFernando Alonso
23European Grand PrixFernando Alonso
24French Grand PrixFernando Alonso
25German Grand PrixFernando Alonso
26Chinese Grand PrixFernando Alonso
Year 2005
27Bahrain Grand PrixFernando Alonso
28Malaysian Grand PrixGiancarlo Fisichella
29Australian Grand PrixFernando Alonso
30Spanish Grand PrixFernando Alonso
31Monaco Grand PrixFernando Alonso
32British Grand PrixFernando Alonso
33Canadian Grand PrixFernando Alonso
34Japanese Grand PrixFernando Alonso
Year 2005
35Singapore Grand PrixFernando Alonso
36Japanese Grand PrixFernando Alonso

Renault Racing Statistics

Benneton’s  Racing records are listed below.

No Of Grands Prix Raced400
Number of DNS (Did Not Start)13
Number of seasons raced24
Number of engine builders1
Number of drivers31
Number of car models27
Number of race wins35
Number of pole positions achieved51
Number of fastest laps33
Number of podiums103
Number of championship points1,777
Points per GP raced4,44
Points per season74.04
Number of laps raced38,338
Number of Km raced187,515


With the merging of their interests and the investment made in the Alpine/ Renault team, everyone is holding thumbs that it ascends again.

By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!