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Renault F1 was a Formula One racing team owned by the Renault company. In December of 2010, Renault sold their remaining part of the Formula One team. Renault has a long history in F1. Ferenc Szisz won the first French Grand Prix at the wheel of a Renault. Since then Renault has competed in Formula One as an engine supplier and as a car builder from the late 1970s to 2021, with many breaks. Renault introduced the turbo engine to Formula One when they debuted their first car, the Renault RS01 at Silverstone in 1977. Although the Renault team won races and competed for world titles, it was as a supplier of engines to the Benetton and Williams teams in the 1990s that Renault first tasted world championship success. Renault engines powered drivers such as Nigel Mansall, Damon Hill, Jacque Villeneuve and Michael Schumacer to the Drivers World Championship.
|Full name||Lotus Renault GP|
|Base||Enstone, United Kingdom|
|Team principal(s)||Éric Boullier|
|Technical director||Bob Bell|
|Formula One World Championship Career|
|Debut||1977 British Grand Prix|
|Latest race||2022 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Constructors' Championships||2 (2005 and 2006)|
|Drivers' Championships||2 (2005 and 2006)|
|2010 position||5th (163 points)|
Renault returned to the job of being a builder in 2001 by taking over the Benetton team, which was renamed Renault in 2002. Their first championship as a builder was achieved in 2005; the same year that they won their first drivers' championship with former test driver Fernando Alonso. They repeated their success in the following year.
The teams lowest point so far was in late 2009. At the end of the 2008 season the team saw a brief return to the podium spots, with Fernando Alonso winning 2 of the last 4 races. However, Nelson Piquet Jnr, who drove for Renualt throughout the 2008 season told the media that the team had made him cheat in a race in order to help Alonso win.
At the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix (the first ever Grand Prix to be held at night) Nelson Piquet Jnr lost control of his car at the outside of Turn 17, sliding across the road and smashing into a wall, throwing lots of debris across the road, meaning the Safety Car had to be called out to lead the cars through the track slowly to protect the marshalls cleaning the road. This closed the gaps between the cars, meaning they were now racing very close together. This allowed Fernando Alonso, who was in 15th place to pass the slower less experienced drivers around him. Alonso went on to win race. After Renault fired Piquet Jnr for his poor driving in 2009, he told the FIA (the organisation that run the Formula 1 World Championship) that Flavio Briatore, the boss of the Renault F1 Team (who had been the team manager for 20 years, and had cheated previously) had told him over the radio to crash his car deliberately, in order to bring the safety car out and give Alonso a better chance. Alonso was not aware of this at the time, or even before the crash.
Following a meeting of the FIA Super Council in Paris, Team Principle Flavio Briatore and Chief Engineer Pat Symmonds were found guilty. Both had to leave the team and Flavio was banned from Formula 1 for life (that ban has now been lifted). In connection with the event, Renault F1's main sponsor, ING Insurance, also left the team
On 8 December, 2010, Renault announced that they had sold their remaining ownership shares in the team to Genii Capital, a private investment group. Those shares was then purchased by Lotus Cars, which is owned by Proton. Proton owns Lotus Cars. The team was named Lotus Renault GP since 2011. They continued to use Renault as the chassis name. The cars had a black and gold paint scheme, similar to the historic John Player Special sponsorship that Lotus had in the 1970s and 1980s.
The team has raced as a French team since Renault took over Benetton in 2002. In January 2011, it was announced that they will race under a British licence in 2011. This is the first time since 1975 that there has not been a French team in Formula One.
Formula One World Championship results change
- "Renault F1 team to be renamed Lotus Renault GP in 2011". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- Noble, Jonathan (13 January 2011). "Renault to switch to British licence". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 15 January 2011.