Next month’s British GP at Silverstone (14-15-16 July) officially marks four decades – to the day! – since the French manufacturer first entered an F1 event, with Jabouille and its then-troubled, but now much-loved, pioneering turbocharged R.S.01 racer.
However, that hasn’t stopped Renault from getting the celebrations under way and what better place to begin them than around the streets of Monaco which make for the most famous GP occasion of them all!
On the Friday in the principality, Jabouille got back behind the wheel of R.S.01 (1.5-litre with 525hp on tap) and was also presented with a special watch – number one from a limited edition of 170 named the BR 126 40 Anniversary designed and produced by team partner Bell & Ross!
Similarly, Prost found himself back at the controls of RE40, his car from 1983 – also using a 1.5 turbocharged engine but now producing 750hp. This was Renault’s first all-carbon fibre chassis and in it ‘Le Professeur’ won four times – Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone and the Österrecihring – to come agonisingly close to clinching the title.
Notably that with at Paul Ricard – the French GP – was only the RE40’s second race after it had debuted in the preceding US GP West in Long Beach, California…
At Monaco, Renault Sport Racing President Jérôme Stroll commented: “Renault is proud of its position as one of the most historic brands in F1. Over the past 40 years our involvement has taken many forms, ranging from the ground-breaking RS01 V6 Turbo, the V10 engine, through the record-breaking V8 era through to our current venture with Renault Sport Formula One Team.
“We have not only gained a tremendous amount of success, knowledge, expertise and experience over these years, we have helped contribute to the sport as it is today.”
He added: “In Monaco, we will celebrate our 40-year history. However, our focus is firmly on the future. We recently showcased our vision of a potential F1 future with the R.S.2027 Vision and we are dedicated to our on-going role in F1. Here’s to the next 40 years!”
Also on the Friday of the Monaco GP weekend, current Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Nico Hülkenberg gave the All-New Mégane Renault Sport its first public appearance (see separate article).
Meanwhile look out for a more in-depth article on Renault’s 40 years in F1 in July’s Renault Sport UK Newsletter