Alpine; who are they?
As you may have seen, in 2021, Renault will be renamed to Alpine. But why? And where did they come from?
First of all, who are they and where did they come from?
Alpine is a French auto-manufacturer created in 1954-55 by Jean Rédélé. He was the owner of a Renault dealership in Dieppe, France. Jean was good at racing, and he had a lot of success racing a Renault 4CV, a rear-engined RWD economy car. One of his greatest wins in his early career was at the Mille Miglia.
Jean Rédélé in his 4CV
When people saw his cars, they wanted a piece, so in 1954 he created the Alpine brand to sell his new cars under. As Alpine comes from French, you don't pronounce the E on the end, so it's pronounced "Alpeen". The company is named after the Coupe des Alpes, or The Alpine Rally. The first car to be produced was the Alpine A106, a rebodied 4CV that had been stiffened and given a tubular backbone. The body itself was made from fibreglass, built by Carrosserie Chappe Frères et Gessalin.
The design was inspired by two Renault 4CV prototypes, the Allemano and the Marquis. The latter was sold to an american who did nothing with the designs.
The two cars that inspired the A106
The A106 was a success and Alpine started to grow, in the early 60s came Alpine's most known car, the A110. A stunningly beautiful car based on the Renault R8, offering a whopping 55 horsepower! Later models did have engines with an output of 140hp from the Renault R17 TS.
Rally prepped A110
In 1971, Alpine started a Formula 3 campaign, and in 1972, Formula 2 as well. However, Renault didn't have a competitive Formula 2 engine so they opted for both Ford and BMW engines to power their cars. But in 1976, Renault prevailed and gave Alpine an engine to run in their cars, this partnership was successful as they won that years championship.
F2 Alpine at Pau
By that time, they were confident in their team, that they made the jump to the main stage, Formula 1. They entered under the renault name. The 1.5 litre turbocharged V6 was untested as it was the first ever turbocharged F1 car. But in 1979, at the South African Grand Prix in Kyalami it scored pole. As the turbo helped at higher altitudes to stuff air in to the engine. Though later in the race both cars retired due to an tyre failure on René Arnoux's car, and a engine failure on Jean-Pierre Jabouille's car.
Renault RS01 "The yellow teapot" being driven by Jean-Pierre Jabouille
So, now we know Alpine's relations to Renault and Formula 1;
Why is Renault rebranding their Formula One efforts to Alpine?
Well, in 2017, the new Alpine A110 was released. And the brand was back in business! And what better way to promote Alpine's resurgence than having it compete in the pinnacle of motor racing? And who better than Fernando Alonso to lead the charge? Some may argue many other people as Alonso can be quite toxic, but we don't talk about that.
Good luck to Alpine! I hope your efforts gain traction, and hope you get a podium or a even a win, just don't have a repeat of the 2008 Singapore GP to get it. Thanks.