F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

Jac­ques Villeneuve and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel have all won world ti­tles pro­pelled by Re­nault.

Some of my most vivid mem­o­ries of F1 in­volve Re­nault: Di­jon 1979 when Jean-Pierre Jabouille be­came the first F1 win­ner in a turbo car ahead of an awesome bat­tle for sec­ond place be­tween his team-mate René Arnoux and Fer­rari’s Gilles Villeneuve; Prost get­ting it wrong in the 1982 Monaco GP and then los­ing the ti­tle to Nel­son Pi­quet in South Africa in 1983; Por­tu­gal 1985, where Senna im­pe­ri­ously won his first grand prix; the bat­tle for vic­tory in Spain ’86 where Senna’s Lo­tus-Re­nault beat Mansell’s Wil­liamsHonda by 0.014 sec­onds; Da­mon Hill and Michael Schu­macher’s 1994 col­li­sion at Ade­laide; the glory years when Re­nault power gave Wil­liams and Red Bull al­most to­tal su­pe­ri­or­ity.

But that was then and now is now. Re­nault in to­day’s hy­brid-power F1 is noth­ing to get dewyeyed about. Where, in 1977, they pi­o­neered and per­se­vered with a new tech­nol­ogy, they’ve failed to get the job done with to­day’s com­plex power units. But at least they’ve had the guts to try, and no one could have tried harder to close the gap to Mercedes, who started work ear­lier, de­voted more peo­ple, money and fa­cil­i­ties to the chal­lenge, and are now reap­ing the re­wards.

But it is un­der­stand­able that Red Bull, de­voted to win­ning, wanted out, and also un­der­stand­able that Re­nault boss Car­los Ghosn, should con­sider leav­ing F1 in a sit­u­a­tion where the sub­stan­tial Re­nault in­vest­ment was seem­ing coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. All it was gen­er­at­ing was abuse.

Re­nault have got a moun­tain to climb. Not only must they at the very least match Mercedes and Fer­rari in the en­gine depart­ment, but they’ve also got to bring to­gether their en­gine peo­ple at Viry-Châtil­lon with team per­son­nel at Enstone to cre­ate an in­te­grated unit. Hope­fully it’s just a mat­ter of time. They have al­ways done a su­perb job with a loyal and tal­ented work­force. Let us not forget that it was with the sort of or­gan­i­sa­tion they will now be recre­at­ing that they won both the driv­ers’ and con­struc­tors’ ti­tles in 2005 and 2006.

I ap­plaud Re­nault’s de­ci­sion to re­build and get stuck in against for­mi­da­ble op­po­si­tion. We fans have got much to look for­ward to, and so, hope­fully, have Re­nault. I wish them the best of luck: they de­serve it.

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