Renault F1 team made its debut in Formula 1 in 1977, as the French national project: native engines, French Michelin tires, exclusively French riders, French sponsors … At first, the team used turbo engines, despite its power, differed low reliability, so for a long time the team could not show high stable results. The most successful for “Reno” was the season of 1983, when the team won second place in the Constructors’ Championship, and Alain Prost lost the champion title at the last stage due to technical problems. In the next two seasons, the results of “Reno” were not successful and the team left Formula 1. After that, the auto concern concentrated on supplying engines for other Formula 1 teams. It was established close cooperation with the teams of “Williams” and “Benneton”, which, thanks to the engines Renault won the constructors’ championship from 1992 to 1997.
In 2000, Renault redeemed the Benneton team for $ 120 million, starting gradually progressed in Formula 1 as a factory team. In 2005 and 2006, the team won the Designer Cup twice in a row, and Fernando Alonso became the 2-time world champion among pilots. After leaving the Alonso team, the team’s results fell. After the Spanish pilot was able to return to the team, the results did not improve much, but unpleasant scandals began to arise. As a result of one of them (Nelson Piquet Jr. was forced to make a deliberate accident in favor of winning the Alonso race) many sponsors turned away from the team, and it was much more difficult to negotiate with the pilots. At the end of 2010, the Malaysian group Proton (which owns the British automaker Lotus Cars) became the title sponsor of the team and in 2011 it was announced that the team was renamed Lotus Renault GP.
With the 2012 season begins a new story, “Lotus”. Official sources say that the old “Lotus” has nothing to do with the new “Lotus”. Let it be so, but this does not mean that we should forget about the success of our predecessors. Debut 2012 was a year for “Lotus” very successful, largely due to Kimi Raikkonen, who returned to Formula 1. Finnish pilot fought for the championship and, as a result, took third place. As for the Cup of designers, then in it, “Lotus” was not the fourth position. In 2013, the team retained the status of one of the strongest in the peloton. The season began with a victory Raikkonen at the Australian Grand Prix. True, this success was the only one. Toward the end of the season, the team faced financial difficulties that were a direct result of the failures of the 2014 season. Raikkonen left Lotus, and Pastor Maldonado took his place. All season, the team was chased by failures, and after 315 points in 2013, 10 points in 2014 look like a real failure. Realizing that the hybrid engine “Renault” does not meet expectations, “Lotus” decided to abandon this historic cooperation, going to the engines of “Mercedes”.
2015 in terms of the results of the team went to improve, thanks to the new engines. In the middle of the season, Roman Grosjean even managed to get to the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix. At the end of the season, “Lotus” managed to win the fight for the sixth place in the Cup of designers at “Toro Rosso”. However, the main problem, financial, has not been resolved by the leadership of the team. For this reason, after repayment of obligations to creditors, the Lotus team was redeemed by Renault automaker. 2016 year for the “Reno” did not work out successfully. Pilots Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer for two managed to earn only 8 points, which gave the right to take only 9th place in the championship. However, the leaders did not build bright hopes for the debut season, planning to develop gradually, and to rely not on the completion of the 2016 car, but on the creation of a car for 2017, where a new technical regulation will be in place.
Before the start, the Renault team managed to attract into its ranks a strong pilot Nico Hulkenberg, who moved from Force India. His companion will be Jolyon Palmer, and the Russian team Sergey Sirotkin will be the reserve team pilot. Bookmakers before the start of the season predicted for “Reno” 6th place in the Cup of designers.
The best in history
Renault is one of the most famous racing teams of our time. The founders of the team were the French company producing the same name cars. Formula 1 season in 1985 threw the team out of the competition, but the company continued to make engines for former competitors. 2002 was the year Reno returned to service after she bought another Benetton team. Renault had the same sponsor, who remained true to his favorites despite the change of name. It was the tobacco company Mild Seven. In the entire history of the team, she changed several names, for example, ING Renault F1 Team in the 2007-2009 seasons, Renault F1 Team – in 2010 and Lotus Renault GP in 2011.
The beginning of the Renault on Formula 1 was not so successful, the project was national and everything, from the smallest details of the cars to their pilots, was French. Renault’s main trump card was the 1.5 V6 engine, powerful, but as it turned out, unreliable. The bet on the engine did not justify itself, bringing only one victory and 6 poles. Second place in the design category and in the individual competition (racer Alain Prost) went to the team in 1983. Interestingly, the outcome could be different if it were not for an unexpected breakdown in the Renault team.
From 1989 to 1997, Renault was suppliers of engines for former competitors with Formula One. 6 wins brought the French engines to the teams of Williams and Benetton. Even after the company stopped supplying engines, Williams and Benetton continued to use Renault engines under different names. After that, Renault acquired Beneton for more than one hundred million dollars. In 2002, Renault was able to get close to the leaders of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. 2005 was an outstanding year for the team; this season was marked by a victory in the world championship and the Constructors’ Championship. In 2007, the winners repeated their feat, confirming the championship title.
Fernando Alonso, the pilot who twice won the championship title, left the team. This loss did not pass without a trace, significantly weakening the position of ex-champions. After such a failure, Flavio Briatore decided to completely change the composition of the team. In 2008, Alonso returned to the team, becoming the senior partner and mentor of Nelson Piquet Jr. Singapore and Japan again raised Alonso on a pedestal, becoming, unfortunately, his only victories in 2008. It seemed that it could not be worse, but 2009 was a complete failure. Fernando scored points despite negligible results, while Piquet was not noticed even after ten Grand Prix.
In 2010, the team changed the sponsor, it became Proton – the British concern, the owner of Lotus Cars, after that the team officially changed its name to Lotus Renault GP. Since 2011, the team with the name Renault no longer exists; it goes into the category of motor mechanics.
Unlucky champion: 5 interesting facts about star of Renault – Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg, now playing for Renault, is not the most popular rider, every passer-by does not know him, but still Nico is a talented racer. He never in his long career was not on the podium, but this does not prevent him from being a good pilot. This is not a biography of a German, although something similar, but just 5 brief facts from his life. It is possible that you knew something without this material.
Father is the owner of the shipping company
Klaus Dieter, father of Nico Hulkenberg, is the head of the shipping company Hülkenberg Spedition KG. It is based in Emmerich am Rhein. Actually, it is engaged in the transportation of national and international goods of local and long-distance traffic. They have a special promotion “Send flowers”. Interestingly, here Niko himself graduated from a freight forwarder (a person whose duties include: receiving, escorting and delivering various goods, as well as processing the necessary transport documentation). It will also be relevant to note that Hulkenberg knows three languages: German, English and Dutch. Since Hulkenberg’s linguistic abilities are mentioned, we’ll go further. For starters, Ziggo Sport is a Dutch channel. So, when many Dutch fans of F-1 stopped watching him, Nico Hulkenber gladly gave an interview. Surely, many later regretted.
The winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans
Recently, this achievement surrendered Fernando Alonso. Three years ago, in 2015, Nico Hulkenberg won the legendary race in the Porsche team. For the German team, this was the 17th title, and for the first time Hulkenberg took part in the 24-hour race. Niko traveled with New Zealander Earl Bamber and Brit Nick Tandi came first under the 19th number. Interestingly, the Porsche returned to Le Mans only in 2014. Nico himself was incredibly happy: “Honestly, now I have no words! Winning Le Mans at the first attempt is unbelievable, and so far I cannot convey my feelings with words. I feel joy and relief. I’m happy for the team, happy for everyone who is behind this victory. Porsche returned to Le Mans and won the second attempt. Honestly, I couldn’t have thought that I could win here in the opening race. We did everything right, did not make a single mistake, and the car worked perfectly, without the slightest problem – all this was the key to success.”
Hulkenberg’s recent achievement (2017) is 129 starts with a finish off the podium. This is a really interesting fact: Niko was the champion of “F-3”, “F-2”, won in many other series, but in the “Formula 1” did not achieve anything. However, Hulkenberg regularly came in glasses. Closest to the podium German was in 2012 in the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished in 4th place in 2 seconds from Raikkonen (3). Here is what Niko himself says about his “curse”:
“On the one hand, it saddens me, but on the other, it doesn’t bother me. Of course, I spent a lot of races and never once went up to the podium, but I perfectly understand the reasons that constantly interfered with this. Of course, I’m not proud to have spent so many races and never finished in the top three. On the other hand, the lack of a podium does not bother me, because, as I said, there were reasons for this, and people understand what I can do. From this point of view, this is not a problem for me. Something constantly prevented me – the wrong strategy, my own mistakes. In Monaco in 2016 I could go up to the podium, but the team divided the strategy between me and Sergio Perez, and in the end it turned out that the strategy of Sergio was winning, and he finished third.”
One agent with Schumacher
It happened that reading about one German pilot, we stumble upon another. Wilhelm Friedrich Weber or “Willy” Weber was an agent of Nico Hulkenberg until 2011. Interestingly, he helped Niko in many ways to take the first steps in motor sport. In 2005, Weber founded the A1 Team team for the returning A1GP series. Just in this team and entered Nico Hulkenberg. Interestingly, in the second year after the creation of the team, she won the title with 9 wins in the season. This was the first title for motorcycling for Niko. Cooperation lasted until May 13, 2011, when the German was a test-pilot of “Force India”. Then Hulkenberg decided to part with Willie Weber. In a statement published on the pilot’s website, it was stated that Niko himself would now go about his business, and his former PR adviser Timo Gans would help him.