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Thursday, August 2, 2007

For a team that was called the "yellow teapot" in its initial races, Renault sure has come a long way! In a see-saw involvement in F1 that has seen them move from being a full-fledged team to engine supplier, Renault has seen it all.

Renault entered Formula 1 in late 1977 with the first ever turbocharged engine to be used in F1. Unfortunately, the car was unreliable and would remain so for the next couple of years despite improvements to the engine and build of the car. Along the way, however, Renault had started to make a mark as a constructor and began starting from pole position every once in a while!

By the 1980s, Renault had started to move higher and also had a few wins under their belt now. Rene Arnoux was one of the two drivers employed by Renault and he was steadily adding to the team's tally of wins and reputation with Jean-Pierre Jabouille until he suffered a serious crash in Canada in had to be replaced with Alain Prost.

Prost's time with Renault established the team's reputation as a forerunner and Renault won 11 races in 1981-82 with Prost winning nine and Arnoux two. Renault struggled a bit after Prost left them in 1982 for Ferrari, but the real problem for them came in 1985 when financial problems forced them to first become mere engine suppliers the following year, but completely pull out at the end of the season.

Just three years later, Renault returned to F1 but again... still as engine suppliers. They joined hands with Williams and made steady progress until 1992 when their active-ride engine clinched them the title, a feat they would repeat with the Renault engine in 1993. The combine was well on their way to a third title in 1994 until Ayrton Senna, the lead driver for Williams, died in an accident. Damon Hill tried his best, but could not stop Michael Schumacher. Interestingly, Schumacher was the only driver between 1992 and 1997 to win the title in a non-Renault powered car!

In 2000, Renault returned to Formula 1 when they bought over the Benetton Formula 1 team. Results, though, were hard to come by and after much changing and chopping of personnel and equipment, Renault finally seemed to have got it right when they challenged for the second place in the constructors' championship in 2004. Eventually, they would finish third, but the stage had been set...

The last two seasons have been the best for Renault and as a Formula 1 team, they have won everything available for the first time. Although their premier driver has left the team, hopes are still high of a hat-trick.

Team Boss: Flavio Briatore

Races: 223

Race Wins: 33

Constructor's Championships: 2

Engine: Renault V8 RS27

Chassis: R27 - Renault F1

Suspension: RenaultF1

Brakes: Hitco/AP Racing

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Semi-auto 7 speeds

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed unit + reverse
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4800 mm x 1800 mm x 950 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Designer: Tim Densham
Chief engineer: Rob White
Drivers: Heikki Kovalainen(Finland), Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy)
Test driver: Nelson Piquet Jr, Ricardo Zonta

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