Tracking the history of the current Formula 1 team known as Renault isn’t easy. The Enstone-based squad can be traced all the way back to Toleman in the 1980s, which was purchased and rebranded by the Benetton family at the midpoint of the decade.
Renault bought it in 2000 but ran it as Benetton until rebranding as ‘Renault F1’ in 2002. In 2011 it was rebranded again as ‘Lotus Renault F1’ (not to be confused with another unrelated outfit on the grid known as ‘Team Lotus’), before becoming simply ‘Lotus F1’ from 2012 onwards. In 2015 then-owners Genii Capital flogged the team back to Renault to become a fully-fledged factory team once more, but just a few years on, another rebrand is on the horizon - from 2021, it’ll be known as Alpine F1.
All of that, we appreciate, probably doesn’t sound all that exciting. But even if you don’t have the slightest bit of interest in motorsport, this should still be seen as good news, as this rename shows Renault is committed to its sports car-building sub-brand.
It wasn’t that long ago that Renault’s Dieppe factory in which the A110 is built was reportedly under threat of closure, and even though our worst fears failed to be realised, it didn’t sound like a second-generation version of the sensational A110 was going to happen.
With this rebrand and the kind of rhetoric being used for the announcement of this renamed team, however, the future is looking much brighter for the sub-brand. In a press release, Alpine said:
“The Alpine brand, a symbol of sporting prowess, elegance and agility, will be designated to the chassis and pay tribute to the expertise that gave birth to the A110. For Alpine, this is a key step to accelerate the development and influence of the brand. The team’s engine will continue to benefit from Groupe Renault’s unique expertise in hybrid powertrains and its E-Tech name will be retained.”