This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. Please remove or replace such wording and instead of making proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance.(February 2012)
The team surprised everybody by becoming real contenders for second place in the Constructors' Championship. Trulli won the Monaco Grand Prix in spectacular fashion. However, his relationship with Renault (particularly with team principal and Trulli's ex-manager Flavio Briatore) deteriorated after he was consistently off the pace in the latter half of the year, and made claims of favouritism in the team towards Alonso (though the two teammates themselves remained friendly).
Commentators regularly point to the French Grand Prix as the final straw for Briatore, where Trulli was overtaken by Rubens Barrichello in the final stages of the last lap, costing Renault a double podium finish at their home Grand Prix. He went on without finishing any points and later got fired. After that, he announced that he was joining Toyota F1 for the following year and in fact left Renault early, driving the Toyota in the last two races of the 2004 season.
Hoping to secure second place in the Constructors' Championship, Renault replaced Trulli with 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve for the final three races. However, Villeneuve — away from F1 racing for almost an entire season and struggling to aclimatise quickly to racing at the premier level — did not impress, and the team finished third behind BAR with 105 points.