MU MUCH MISTAKEN…
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.