Renault RE501984 - 1984
Category: Formula One
The Renault RE50 was a Formula One car raced by the Renault team in the 1984 season. The car was driven by Frenchman Patrick Tambay, who joined the team from Ferrari, and Englishman Derek Warwick, who had joined the team after 3 seasons with Toleman. The best results were 3 second-place and 2 third-place finishes, making it the first factory Renault not to win a Grand Prix in a season since the RS01 in 1978.
The car was expected to be as competitive in the hands of two-time Grands Prix winner Tambay and the highly rated Warwick as the RE40 had been when driven by Alain Prost to four wins in 1983. While the car was quick straight out of the box, it had a few problems that the team and drivers could not overcome. The Renault EF4 turbo engine was said to be powerful at 800 bhp (597 kW; 811 PS) but usually proved too thirsty for either driver to challenge for more than 2nd or 3rd place at most races. This proved to be the same problem for other Renault engined cars such as the Lotus 95T (which was designed by former Renault designer Gérard Ducarouge who had joined Lotus in 1984). In 1984 Formula One cars were restricted to a maximum of 220 litres of fuel per race with the re-fueling of 1983 now banned and the French team never got on top of that problem despite a new and exciting (for 1984) electronic fuel monitoring device. The other main problem was that the car's tub which was somewhat fragile, despite being made of carbon fibre which was stronger than the traditional aluminium. This fragility saw Warwick injuring his legs in crashes at both Dijon and Monaco, while Tambay suffered a broken left leg after crashing into Warwick's already crashed car at the first corner of the race in Monaco. Both drivers were injured as a result of their cars suspension arms punching through the carbon fibre monocoque.
Between them Tambay and Warwick (along with test driver Philippe Streiff in a one off drive at the season ending Portuguese Grand Prix) scored 34 points to give Renault 5th place in the constructors championship after finishing 2nd in 1983. Warwick led the way with 23 points (two 2nd's, two 3rd's and a 4th place) while Tambay scored 11 with a 2nd, two 5th's and a 6th place finish. Both drivers scored 1 fastest race lap while Tambay took the team's only pole position of 1984 at the French Grand Prix at Dijon where he led strongly for 48 laps before finishing 2nd behind the McLaren TAG-Porsche of Niki Lauda (would go on to win his third World Drivers' Championship, beating team mate Prost by just ½ a point). Fittingly, the French Grand Prix was also the last ever turbo pole for the Equipe Renault Elf Team.
The RE50 was replaced for 1985 with the RE60.
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