RENAULT RS01

Teapot was the nickname, Renault´s first post war Grand Prix car was given, when it had made it´s debut appearance at the 1977 British Grand Prix held at Silverstone. That had to do with the little smoke coming from the turbocharger in the early days, that had collapsed very often.

In contrast to all other teams involved in the business of that time, no matter if they had come from Britain, Italy or France, the state-runned French car manufacturer did not use a V8 or V12 normally-aspirated engine. They preferred to install a domestic made 1500 cc V6 turbocharged unit making many of their rivals getting a smile on their faces in the early period of it´s development. The problems of that engine was focussed on 2 difficulties: The reliabilty and the classical turbo delay, making the car very difficult to drive.

The Grand Prix engine had been developed from the 2.1 litre turbocharged one, Renault had used for their successful sports cars before. In 1977 and 1978 Renault was not able to take part in all rounds of the Formula One worldchampionship, because the engine´s development, that had started back in 1975, took more time than avaliable. In those years Renault only had a single entry for their fellow countryman Jean-Pierre Jabouille. But after a large list of retirements caused by broken turbochargers, their first worldchampionship points came their way with a fine 4th place at the 1978 United States Grand Prix of Watkins Glen.

For 1979 Renault increased their activities in Grand Prix Racing and with René Arnoux, also a Frenchman having driving for Martini and Surtees before, a second works driver was signed a contract with.

The Renault RS01 was both on pole position and in the lead for the first time ever with Jabouille in the 1979 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. Because of the complicated turbo technology being introduced into Grand Prix Racing for the first time, the Renault RS01 was a conventional car. When the engine situation had stabilized, Renault also switched to a wing car and in spring 1979 the RS01 was replaced by the RE10 step by step.

J H

Model Designation: RS01 Years: 1977 - 1979 Designers: André de Cortanze, Francois Castaing, Chassis: Renault aluminum monocoque Engine: Renault 1.5 litre V6 with 1 turbocharger, bore x stroke 86 x 42.8 mm, 10.500 rpm Gearbox: Hewland FG400 5 speed manual Drivers: Jean-Pierre Jabouille/F, René Arnoux/F Sponsors: elf (fuels and oil), Tissot (watches), Cibié (car lights)

 

 

 

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