Renault reach winning century 04 Apr 2005
Blue team join exclusive group of three
Fernando Alonsos victory in Bahrain marked the 100th Formula One win for a Renault engine, making the French company only the third manufacturer to achieve the feat.
Ferrari (182 victories) and Cosworth (176) are the only two other engine builders to have reached this landmark. However, Renault took fewer race car entries (1119 to Ferraris 1211 and Cosworths 2316) to attain their century, making them in that respect the most successful of the trio.
Renault first entered Formula One racing as a works team back in 1977 with the V6 turbo-powered RS01 machine. Victory number one came in 1979, suitably enough in France, when Jean-Pierre Jabouille became the first man to win a Grand Prix in a turbocharged car.
Between then and the end of the 1983 season Renault added another 14 wins, the majority courtesy of Alain Prost. The team moved up from sixth in the 1979 constructors championship to clinch the runner-up spot in 1983.
The team fell off the pace the following season and at the end of 1985 chose to withdraw from the sport. By then, though, Renault were also supplying engines to Lotus and Ligier and the former continued to bring success to the French company, with four wins for Ayrton Senna and one for Elio de Angelis.
In 1989 Renault began a highly fruitful eight-year relationship with the Williams team. It brought them a total of 63 wins, starting with Thierry Boutsens triumph in the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix and ending with Jacques Villeneuves victory in the 1997 Luxembourg race, and powered Williams to five constructors titles.
Never one to put all their eggs in one basket, Renault also began supplying Benetton for the 1995 season, promptly powering the team to that years championship. Together they would go on to rack up 12 Grand Prix wins, all but three of them with Michael Schumacher at the wheel, and after another brief Renault exit from the sport the squad would eventually go on to become their new works team in 2002.
After winning a single race in both 2003 and 2004, their three successive victories this season has suddenly pushed Renault up to that magic 100 mark and few would bet against that tally going a fair bit higher before the year is out.
As a reference point, Ferrari and Cosworth aside, the other most successful engine manufacturers on the current Formula One grid are Honda on 71 wins, Mercedes on 43 and BMW with 19.