After more than 40 years in Formula 1, two Drivers’ and two Constructors’ World Championship titles, 35 wins and 399 race starts, the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the final race for the Renault team name before it hands the baton to sister brand Alpine in 2021.
The team said in a press release wrote in a press release: “Renault will celebrate its heritage with a remarkable demonstration run in Abu Dhabi linking past, present and future. Fernando Alonso will be reunited with his championship-winning 2005 R25 car ahead of his 2021 return: a symbol of our joint heritage but intense appetite for further success.”
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul added, “It’s very emotional to see the R25 run in anger once again, and having Fernando at the wheel is the cherry on the cake. The car-driver partnership was a classic time in F1 and remains one of Renault’s proudest achievements in motorsport.
“While the car is a symbol of our past achievements, Fernando reflects our strong ambition to keep pushing for more success and recapture those incredible moments and emotions. Of course, any results will now be under the Alpine name but our future success will all be homage to this amazing time in Renault’s F1 history.”
The R25 to this day remains one of the most remarkable cars in the history of Formula 1. Powered by the iconic Renault V10 engine, which had been dominant across the 90s and early noughties, the R25’s sharp chassis design and distinctive blue and yellow livery made it instantly recognisable.
Across the 19-race 2005 season, Fernando and team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella scored eight wins, including a poignant victory at the team’s home race in France, seven pole positions and 18 podiums to give Renault its first Constructors’ championship and Fernando his first Drivers’ title.
Now, 15 years later, the R25 will run again after a remarkable restoration from Renault Sport Racing’s Enstone and Viry sites and industry specialists Rennwerk Company, based in Germany. Last used for a demo run in 2006, the R25 was stored as part of the Renault Classic collection until a project to restore the ‘Beast’ to its full glory got underway in 2018.
The project to restore the chassis started in 2019 with Rennwerk. Plans were made to run the car in the 2020 French Grand Prix, however, they were put on ice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restarted in October 2020, more than 50 man-hours of engine revision at Viry were necessary.
Just two weeks later, the V10 roared into life at the Rennwerk workshop and by mid-November the R25 had completed an astonishing first run at the La Ferté Gaucher circuit just outside Paris.
Fernando will now be reunited with the R25 at Yas Marina Circuit for three celebration runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.