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29 years after making its Formula 1 debut at the 1977 British Grand Prix, when Jean-Pierre Jabouille qualified the famous RS01 'yellow teapot' turbo car in 21st position before retiring on lap 17 with, inevitably, a broken turbo, the Renault F1 Team will this weekend start Renault's 200th Grand Prix as a Formula 1 constructor, at the 2006 British Grand Prix.
2006 marks Renault's 14th season as an F1 constructor (1977 – 1985, 2002 – present) and in that time, the company has scored 30 race wins, 47 pole positions, 24 fastest laps and 1 Constructors' Championship. The company took just one win at Silverstone during the turbo era, in 1983 with Alain Prost at the wheel; it also took a single pole position, with René Arnoux in 1981. Since 2002, its best finish has been second position last year with Fernando Alonso, who also took pole position.
However, the 200th GP start will not be Renault's 200th GP participation. That came four weeks ago Barcelona, when Fernando Alonso took a lights to flag victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. However, both Renaults failed to qualify for the 1979 US GP West in Long Beach and, of course, failed to take the start last year in Indianapolis at the ill-fated 2005 US GP.
As an engine manufacturer from 1989 – 1997, Renault also established an illustrious heritage at Silverstone, taking seven consecutive victories from 1991 to 1997, as an engine supplier to Williams and Benetton, including home victories for Nigel Mansell (1991, 1992), Damon Hill (1994) and Johnny Herbert (1995).
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