At one time, young Louis Renault realized how important sporting victories are for brand image. So in the early twentieth century, motor racing has become a favorite Renault arena, where you can show the beauty and power of the car. The 20s distinguished themselves by domination on the sports tracks Renault 40CV. In 1925 he confirmed his primacy on the Monte-Carlo Rally and was ready to continue to leave behind everyone else.
Renault F1 drivers
Before the debut of Renault in Formula 1, we took part in local competitions. Also models were created that won the championship in a variety of races: Renault Gordini, Renault Alpine, Renault Berlinette. In 1977, Renault Sport will debut in Formula 1, but we get the first victory in 1979 at the French Grand Prix. Then Jean-Pierre Jabuy was driving. Jean-Pierre participated in Formula 1 for the Renault team throughout 1977-1980. Then from 1981 to 1983, Alain Prost took part in the competition. In the early 80s, we won about 15 Grand Prix races, and in 1983, thanks to Alain Prost, Renault Sport won second place in the World Championship. Then almost no one believed in our turbo engine, but we convinced the world of the opposite. In the 80s Renault was present in Formula 1 as an engine supplier. In 1983-1984, Nigel Mansell traveled precisely on our engines, representing Team Lotus. And later, in 91-92, he already represented Williams also on Renault engines.
In 2007, Renault became a partner of Red Bull Racing and the dark blue cars were ready to compete for the victory. Already in 2009, Sebastian Vettel presented Renault and Red Bull Racing second place in the Constructors’ Championship. The following year, Vettel became a victor, who was recognized as the youngest in the history of the competition. By the end of the 2009 season, 115 Grand Prix and 15 world champions were won on French engines in 435 races, 154 pole positions were won, 306 times the pilots went up to the prize pedestal. Victories for Renault were won by famous pilots – Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Damon Gill, Jacques Villeneuve, and Michael Schumacher.
The beginning of the 21st century was marked by the unconditional domination of Michael Schumacher. At one time, Flavio Briatore believed in a German, having put a lot of effort in order to lure him out of Jordan, and he thanked the Italian almost immediately, becoming the champion twice with Benetton. Some time passed, and the old man Flavio again saw the pilot with the greatest potential. He was a Spaniard, and he did not represent Jordan, but a modest Minardi, but this did not prevent the new ward Briatore from becoming the champion of Formula 1 twice and forcing his compatriots to fill Catalunya-Montmelo and the city circuit of Valencia! The so-called “Alonsomania” did not appear immediately. And where could she have come from, if in the Pyrenees at that time, it was preferable to watch football, and after that other sports, one of which was motorcycling, followed. Angel Nieto, Alex Krivill and Sete Gibernau were more familiar to the ordinary Spaniard than the names of the Queen of motorsport riders. Formula 1 could not oppose something weighty, Pedro de la Rosa and Marc Gene were not extra-class pilots, and their teams were not fighting for victory. Fernando himself spent the first season in the composition of the humble Minardi, and did not perform as brightly as the other newcomers of the season: the best result was the 11th place at the Japanese Grand Prix. Many of the race was impressed by the performance of the Spaniard, but most importantly – Briatore looked at him, who at the end of the season invited Nando to the factory team of Reno, however, as the third pilot. But not for long.
From the very first races in the Renault Fernando showed that they will not graze the rear, be the second number in the team or something like that. His partner was Jarno Trulli, but even that did not embarrass the Spaniard, and from the first races he began to demonstrate what he was invited to the famous team: two third places (one of them at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2003), one second to home Grand Prix and long-awaited victory in Hungary! It was here that the Spaniards began to turn on their TV during the races, and then buy tickets for the Grand Prix. After this victory, during the races at least 100 thousand fans of motor racing attended the Catalan circuit; sometimes the indicator reached even the revenge of 140 thousand! The second season was less bright, but Alonso managed to finish the championship in fourth place, which is two positions higher than in the previous year. This could not embarrass the young pilot, because the team placed all hopes on 2005.
And for good reason! The team had no equal! No, the speed candidates were still there – Kimi Raikkonen won more than one victory with McLaren, but race cars Ron Dennis suffered reliability, which helped Fernando Alonso is relatively easy to become the youngest world champion. So Alonso became a favorite not only in his homeland, but also found fans around the world. In 2005, the Spaniard became the first representative of his country, who won in Formula 1; moreover, he became the youngest champion! A year later he managed to repeat his achievement. During the championship seasons, Alonso started 12 times from pole position, scored 14 wins and 29 times went up to the podium at 37 Grand Prix. All this he achieved solely thanks to the qualifying speed, racing pace and unusual driving style. Our language is our enemy. At the beginning of 2006, he was only 24 years old, and he did not see anything bad to announce his transition to McLaren for a year! What did all this lead to? To complicate the situation in the team, he remained Briatore’s favorite, but still the fly in the ointment spoiled the barrel of honey.
The start of the 2006 season turned out to be successful: two victories by Fernando Schumacher parried the same result in San Marino and Nürburg. But Alonso did not hesitate and got four victories in a row! It seemed that he would win the championship even easier than a year earlier, but then Schumacher decided to put in his weighty word. Michael was thinking about completing a career, and winning the championship is a great way to slam the door. 5 wins at two meetings of the Spaniard made the German a new favorite in the fight for the title. It is at such moments that real champions come to light, when everything seemed to go to hell, when everything is against you, when luck escapes from your hands, you do everything for the result. Alonso believed in victory, and forced the scales to lean in his direction, he showed the maximum of his capabilities, and still won the second title. Yes, skeptics will argue that technical failures prevented Schumi, but the fact remains.
Then things did not go as well as Alonso himself and his army would have wished. Yes, he came to one of the best teams of the championship, but his partner was the young Lewis Hamilton, Dennis protégé, which played a role towards the end of the season. It is now Fernando and Lewis are good friends, writing out praises to each other at every corner, and then they became real enemies, ignited a conflict in which the leadership of the team supported the British. Despite all the negatives, frauds on and off the track, he managed to spend this season fairly smoothly, still stay at the top of the starting grid and fight for the championship until the last race. This ability to adapt to very different requirements and distinguishes great riders from just good ones. The third place, the missed victory in the championship, the scandal – it all forced to break off relations with McLaren, and Fernando returned to Reno, they say, to wait.
Wait for your place in Ferrari. But five years spent in Maranello did not bring him the third championship title. The Italian Five-Year Plan can be described as controversial. On the one hand, Nando three times became vice-champion (2010, 2012 and 2013), but second place for such people is akin to failure. Alonso immediately became the favorite of typhosi and Luca di Montezemolo, which guaranteed him no problems that fell on him in Britain. In the first season, he had probably the greatest chance of winning the title: the creation of Adrian Newey was fast, but not reliable enough, which left many chances to competitors. Everything had to be decided in the last race in Abu Dhabi. True, then he was prevented by command tactics and one Vitaly Petrov, who, in his Renault, blocked the path to the success of the Spaniard, leaving the outcome of the championship for Sebastian Vettel. Disappointed with the poor results for Scuderia, annually hearing promises about the competitiveness of the red car, quarreling with Marco Mattiacci (which cost the latter his place), Alonso decided to take the chance – he signed a contract with McLaren, McLaren-Honda.
If we say the word “professor: what do you associate with this word? Many – a representative of universities, which teaches those who want to gnaw granite science. Lovers of motor racing – a unique pilot who had a great talent, but always preferred to go as far as it took to win. Many have ceased to love him after a scandalous rivalry with Ayrton Senna, but no one was able to stop admiring his talent. Your attention, Alain Prost!
Talking about Alain can be long, if not forever. Remembering his younger episodes, we simply note that he stood out among the rest. While it stood out absolutely in all the series, in which he took part, whether it be cards, Renault Formula or Formula 3. Such results could not disregard the bosses of Formula 1, and Maclaren was the first to appear on the horizon. Alas, he came to the stable not in the kindest times, therefore, the start of a career in the Big Prizes did not turn out to be overly convincing. Ford did not allow the engine to fight for gold in the race, so in addition it was also unreliable. Sixth place in the debut Grand Prix of Argentina brought him 1 point in the first race, and the best result was 5th place in Brazil. Despite the current contract, Alain entered into an agreement with Renault.
It all started like a fairy tale. Reno in those years positioned itself as the national French team: French engine, chassis, Michelin tires, oil Elf and, of course, pilots. Young and promising French racer was for the stables at the right time. The first two seasons had to spend on grinding in the very stable, clarifying relationships and improving the competitiveness of the car. Renault RE20B was very fast, but at the same time unreliable. So, refusing to submit to the command tactics (that is, to pass to Prost’s victory), the team left René Arnue, in 1982 Prost got into an accident with Didier Pironi, after which the Frenchman ended his professional career. Rumor has it; this accident brought the final touches to the driving style of Prost, which would later be called professorial.
Anyway, only in 1983, Allen was able to really claim the title, moreover, to be considered as the main contender. But by the end of the championship, the Renault RE30B began to let the pilot down, and the gathering was the most offensive because of the breakdown of the turbo drive in the last stage of 1983. Pique took third place in Kalia in order to win his second title, while Prost became a scapegoat and was forced to leave the team. Fortunately, Maclaren has forgiven all the insults, while getting a new TAG engine and pilot Nicky Lauda. But Alain did not care, his plans were to win the champion title. The season was good for the Frenchman, 7 victories, complete dominance over Lauda in qualifications, only the victory in the championship went away from him again and again in the last race, this time in Portugal, and the two partners divided just half a point, the minimum gap between champion and vice-champion. The experience took its toll, but youth did not want to give up. And in 1985, Prost became the first world champion.
The main rival of the Frenchman that year was Michele Alboreto on Ferrari. At one time, the Italian pilot even took the lead in the overall standings, but five consecutive meetings in the last five races of the season left him no chance. For sporting achievements, Alain Prost in 1985 was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. It seemed to be the hardest to defend the title – in 1986, two Williams Pique and Mensell were considered favorites, while Ayrton Senna was considered the best pilot. Maclaren and not close ranked as favorites. Nevertheless, Prost squeezed the maximum out of his MP4 / 2, and by the end of the last race was still a contender for the title. An example that should learn a lot: Maclaren dismissed a rumor about new heavy-duty tires Gudier, who allegedly withstand the entire race without a replacement, partner Prosta Keke Rosberg said he decided not to help the Frenchman fight for the title, but to adequately hold his last race. In fact, no new tires existed at all, and Rosberg, who was released on half-empty tanks, was supposed to help Prost to drive Williams’s pilots. It is a pity that such tricks are now banned, including false runners of mechanics at the pit stop, and then such a trick brought the Frenchman a second title, finally confirming him with the title of “Professor” and making him the first rider since Brabham, who managed to defend his title.
In 1974, the Brazilian Grand Prix was first included in the World Cup calendar. The teams of motor-housings lined up wishing to join the magical world of Formula 1 and become laborers during the days of the race weekend. One of the lucky ones, who managed to get a job in the “stable” Brabham was 21-year-old Nelson. The first thing that he was instructed was to clear the helmet of the rising star of the championship of Carlos Roytemann. But that’s bad luck, the young man did not differ by special care, and Roytemann, who saw the results of his work, exclaimed in his hearts: “Boy, you can’t understand anything about this!” This story received an unexpected offer seven years later, when that Brazilian beat Carlos ahead in the battle for the title. The grinning triumphant said to his recent abuser: “I have not managed to polish your helmet, but can you manage to bring the champion’s helmet to shine?”
Nelson Piquet still climbs the stairs to this day. The consequences of the accident in training before the “500 miles of Indianapolis” in 1992 have an effect. Then his Lola-Buick crashed into the concrete wall between the third and fourth turns of the famous track at a speed of about 350 km / h. “The bones of the left leg were crushed into tiny particles, they simply ceased to exist,” said Dr. Terry Trammell after the operation, which lasted eight hours.
Despite the darkest assumptions about the future of the three-time world champion, he returned to the “Old Brick Building” next season, where he managed to qualify as the 13th. And although that tragic accident put an end to regular participation in car races, Nelson sometimes allows himself to shake antiquity, going to the start of various sports car competitions. And in 1998 Piquet pleased his compatriots by making a company to his son Nelson Jr. in one of the races of the Formula-3 South American Championship.
Jacques Villeneuve: willful and swift
The thesis that nature has a rest on celebrity children has been repeatedly refuted by nature itself. It seems that the children of talents can be considered in a “privileged” position – parents will always help, support, promote. But if envious people in art or even in science can sometimes say, not without reason, that the son of talent takes its place not justly, then with sports everything is different. Here, when you can’t throw the disk farther than anyone, push the core, run the distance faster than anyone else, drive through the track, you will not be awarded the title. You yourself, not relying on anyone, should be every time better than your rivals who do not want your victory at all. But when you stand on the highest step, everyone sees that you did not disgrace the glory of your father!
Jacques Villeneuve began a new stage in his career, as always, swiftly. In the first race – the pole position and only problems with the oil system forced the newcomer to come second in the race. Throughout the season, he fought on equal terms for the champion title, and in fact, in addition to fighting with well-known rivals, he had to study each track. In addition, it must be borne in mind that the Canadian did not take part in competitions on the wet track before – in “Indy” in rainy weather, they either stop the race or release a safety car … Villeneuve four times in a season came first, five times second and third. Even before the last race of the season – in Suzuka – it was not clear who would be the champion – Jacques, or his team-mate Hill. Villeneuve gains a pole position, but, hesitated at the start, leaves only the seventh. And on the thirty-seventh round his tire bursts, and it becomes clear that Jacques is a vice-champion. Especially if you consider that the settings of the car, which are used by the Canadian, horrify the team: the most rigid suspension, the minimum downforce of the rear wings. That is, Villeneuve sets up the car as it is in Indycar. Such a machine takes turns faster, but does not forgive mistakes at all. Moreover, Jacques asks to make the gas pedal with a working stroke 2 centimeters. Leg or raised or recessed into the floor! This approach is completely contrary to the views of engineers “stables”, and, of course, does not contribute to improving the relationship between the team and the pilot.