Renault RE30

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Renault RE30
Prost at 1981 Dutch Grand Prix.jpg
Category Formula One
Constructor Renault
Designer(s) Michel Tétu
Gérard Larrousse
Predecessor RE20
Successor RE40
Technical specifications
Chassis Aluminium honeycomb monocoque with carbon fibre stress points
Suspension (front) upper rocker arms, lower wishbones
Suspension (rear) upper rocker arms, lower wishbones
Axle track Front: 1,740 mm (69 in)
Rear: 1,630 mm (64 in)
Wheelbase 2,730 mm (107 in)
Engine Renault Gordini EF1, 1,492 cc (91.0 cu in), 90° V6, turbo mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
Transmission 5 speed manual
Weight 605 kg (1,334 lb)
Fuel Elf
Tyres Michelin
Competition history
Notable entrants Equipe Renault Elf
Notable drivers 15. France Alain Prost
16. France René Arnoux
Debut 1981 Monaco Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 0

The Renault RE30 was a Formula One car designed by Michel Tétu and Gérard Larrousse for use by the Renault team in the 1981 Formula One season. An updated version, the RE30B, was used in the 1982 season, and a further update, the RE30C, at the start of the 1983 season.

Racing history[edit]

1981[edit]

The RE30 was an entirely different design from its predecessor, the RE20. It incorporated carbon fibre – a material which was becoming increasingly commonplace in F1 at the time – into parts of its construction, and featured distinctive aerodynamic kick-ups ahead of the rear wheels. The initial version featured a full span front wing. The turbocharged engine was developed further, producing around 540 bhp (400 kW), with twin KKK turbochargers. The car had advanced ground effect technology, with concessions given to the new rules for 1981 which banned sliding skirts.

After the team used the RE20 for the first five races of the 1981 World Championship, the RE30 made its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix. At the team's home race in France, René Arnoux put the car on pole position, before team-mate Alain Prost took his first Grand Prix victory. The car then took pole in each of the next five races (Arnoux three times and Prost twice), with Prost winning again in Holland and finishing second in Germany, and Arnoux himself finishing second in Austria. Prost then took a third win in Italy, before rounding off the year with another second place at Caesars Palace. He thus finished fifth in the Drivers' Championship with Arnoux ninth, while the team took third in the Constructors' Championship.

1982[edit]

For 1982, the car was updated and modified with a redesigned nose section that featured separate left and right front wings, and new rear wing. Advances in ground effect meant that the cars frequently ran without the front wings attached. The engine was further developed to give around 590 bhp. Prost made a strong start to the season and won in Brazil and South Africa to underline his intention to win the championship that season. However, those would be his only victories of the year, as Ferrari, Williams and McLaren overtook Renault in the technology race. The RE30B was a formidable qualifying car, with Prost or Arnoux on pole for the majority of the races, but reliability was suspect for both drivers, mostly due to problems with the new and rather experimental electronic fuel injection which failed repeatedly during the races proper. It was a shame, because the RE30B was probably the most competitive car that year, having the best compromise on outright performance- with a good chassis and aerodynamics, and a powerful enough engine. The car was quick around all kinds of different circuits- even around even tight, slow circuits like Monaco, Detroit, Zolder and Long Beach; circuits where the other cars with turbo-charged engines (Ferrari, Brabham-BMW, and less competitively Toleman-Hart) lacked in performance thanks to the heavier weight and poor engine pickup thanks to massive turbo lag, so the cars with the less powerful naturally aspirated engines were able to capitalize by being able to get more power more quickly out of slow corners. Arnoux took two wins during the latter half of the year, but only finished four races during the whole season. Prost was in sight of victory at Monaco, Austria and Dijon but had problems during the final laps of all three races. He eventually salvaged fourth in the championship, whilst Renault finished third in the constructors' championship.

1983[edit]

The RE30 was further updated to "C" specification for the start of the 1983 season, before the new RE40 became available. Prost and new team-mate Eddie Cheever both drove the RE30C at the season opener in Brazil, with Cheever then driving the car again at Long Beach. The RE30C complied with the "flat bottom" rules enacted that year, with a much larger rear wing and revised front wings.

With seven wins and sixteen pole positions, the RE30 was Renault's most successful car until Fernando Alonso's world championships of 2005 and 2006.

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
1981 Equipe Renault Elf RE30 Renault-Gordini EF1 V6 (t/c) M USW BRA ARG SMR BEL MON ESP FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN CPL 54* 3rd
Alain Prost Ret Ret 1 Ret 2 Ret 1 1 Ret 2
René Arnoux Ret 9 4 9 13 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret
1982 Equipe Renault Elf RE30B Renault-Gordini EF1 V6 (t/c) M RSA BRA USW SMR BEL MON DET CAN NED GBR FRA GER AUT SUI ITA CPL 62 3rd
Alain Prost 1 1 Ret Ret Ret 7 NC Ret Ret 6 2 Ret 8 2 Ret 4
René Arnoux 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret 1 2 Ret 16 1 Ret
1983 Equipe Renault Elf RE30C Renault-Gordini EF1 V6 (t/c) M BRA USW FRA SMR MON BEL DET CAN GBR GER AUT NED ITA EUR RSA 79** 2nd
Alain Prost 7
Eddie Cheever Ret 13

* 6 points scored using the Renault RE20
** All 79 points scored using the Renault RE40

Sources[edit]

  • Pritchard, Anthony (1986). Directory of Formula One Cars 1966-1986. Aston Publications. pp. 180–182. ISBN 0-946627-02-9. 
  • Nye, Doug (1986). Autocourse History of the Grand Prix Car 1966-1985. Hazleton Publishing. p. 231. ISBN 0-905138-37-6.