Renault has announced a new name and a new look for its factory Formula 1 team for 2021, when the current Renault DP World F1 Team will be rebranded as Alpine F1 Team.
The new name references Renault’s sporting sub-brand, which has a connection to the French carmaker dating back to the 1950s and was relaunched in 2017 with the all-new Alpine A110.
The rebranding is one result of a move by Groupe Renault CEO Luca De Meo to redefine the company under four key brands – Renault, Alpine, Dacia and New Mobility – with the F1 connection intended to raise the profile “and influence” of Alpine.
While Alpine has a long and successful history in motorsport, specifically rallying (1973 WRC Manufacturers’ Champion) and endurance racing (1978 24 Hours of Le Mans winner), it’s never been listed as a manufacturer in Formula 1 until now.
“By introducing Alpine, a symbol of French excellence, to the most prestigious of the world’s automotive disciplines, we are continuing the adventure of manufacturers in a renewed sport,” said De Meo. “Alpine will also bring its values to the F1 paddock: elegance, ingenuity and audacity.”
Chassis for the 2021 factory F1 racers (which will presumably be a development of the current R.S. 20) will be labelled as Alpine, but the hybrid E-Tech engines will continue to be supplied by Renault and retain Renault branding.
To define the new Alpine F1 Team against its predecessor on the track, the traditional Renault F1 colours of yellow and black will be replaced with a red, white and blue livery referencing the French national colours.
“This change comes at a key moment in the trajectory of the team and the sport,” said Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Renault DP World F1 Team. “Alpine brings a new meaning, new values and colours to the paddock with the spirit of competition from other worlds and French creative agility.”
From their debut in 2021, the Alpine F1 Team will have a presence on the F1 grid for an additional four years, following Renault’s signing of the Concorde Agreement that keeps them in the category until 2025. Along with the cost-cutting measures of the Concorde Agreement, the new-look team will hope to also benefit from the new F1 technical regulations that come into effect from 2022.
“The new regulatory and financial framework will establish the conditions for a fairer motor sport in its redistribution of revenues; simpler and progressive in its governance. The implementation of the ‘budget cap’ will put an end to the expense race and will allow the signatory teams to be measured for their sporting value,” Abiteboul added.
Groupe Renault says they are determined to return to the F1 podium and win under their new colours after a drought that stretches back to the 2013 Australian Grand Prix when Kimi Raikkonen won in the Lotus-Renault E21. The team has secured only one other podium since (third at the Belgian Grand Prix), and so far in 2020, the best race result has been fourth at the British and Belgian Grands Prix with Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel on both occasions. Those placings have also been Ricciardo’s best since he joined Renault last year.
With Ricciardo’s departure from Renault at the end of this year, the first Alpine F1 Team driver lineup will consist of incumbent Esteban Ocon and veteran driver Fernando Alonso, whose return to the category after two years away was announced in July. Alonso drove for Renault on two previous occasions, including from 2003-06 when he secured his two F1 Drivers’ World Championships.
On being informed of the new team name that was announced on Sunday, 6 September, Alonso tweeted: ‘What a great way to wake up on a Sunday’.