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The radical transformation that pre-dated Renault’s F1 triumph

It’s rare for Formula 1 teams to go from back-row fodder to podium challengers in one season, but that’s what Benetton did in 2001 as it laid the foundations for title-winning success as Renault

When Renault returned to Formula 1 as a fully fledged factory team in 2016, it boldly announced its aspirations of becoming a winning force again within five years. There’s nothing wrong with showing ambition, but its hopelessly misguided comments made a rod for the team’s back and revealed an ignorance of the work involved in lifting the Enstone operation up the grid after years of underinvestment by previous owner Genii Capital.

Now in its latest identity as Alpine, the team remains firmly ensconced in the midfield fight and, despite qualifying heroics from Esteban Ocon in Portugal and Spain, appears unlikely to finish higher than fifth once again. In the final year of the current regulations, it would be prudent to start looking at its design for 2022 in the not-too-distant future.

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