You can be many things in Formula One. Being a supplier, a sponsor or competitor are just some of those things you can be in the sport. Renault have certainly covered the three mentioned during the sixty years that the sport has been known as Formula One.
For 2016 they will return as a fully fledged team, the third occasion the French manufacturer will have done so. This latest incarnation of the Renault F1 team will have a lot to live up to, having introduced the turbo engine to the sport in their first spell from 1977 to 1985. During this time the team also clinched race victories and challenged for titles, most notably with Alain Prost in the early 1980s.
It is not just this first spell as a F1 team that Renault have to live up to. In fact they are more likely going to be judged against their second outing as a team, which occurred from 2000 to 2010. Although from 2000 to 2001 the team ran under the name Benetton, it was still owned and run by Renault. The name was changed for the 2002 season and a year later the French manufacturer had claimed a race victory. Two years later in 2005 they clinched the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships. Repeating the feat the following season.
From 2007 onwards the team went into decline, unable to win in 2007 and only managing two wins in 2008, one very controversially at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. By 2010 Renault decided to sell.
They didn’t leave the sport entirely however, deciding to remain as an engine supplier, most notably with Red Bull Racing who they would help power to Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles from 2010 to 2013.
After two difficult seasons in 2014 and 2015, Renault have decided to increase their involvement in the sport. They know that there is a long way to go for the team to be able to challenge for podiums, let alone win Grand Prix and championships again. But with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer driving, and a very good group of personnel still at the Enstone base, there is plenty of hope and optimism for the latest Renault team.