Thirty years of working together - Phillipe Girard (Elf)

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Thirty years ago, Renault first entered Formula One. It wasn't only the beginning of the success of the Renault F1 Team, but also of an incredible partnership between Renault and Elf. Here follows an interview with Philippe Girard, Manager, Elf F1 Programme

What feelings does the RS01 from 1977 inspire today? Amusement, or affection?

"It’s a special sight, to see again the first F1 car to carry the Renault diamond and the Elf logo. The technology might seem outdated by today’s standards, but it symbolises the starting point of an incredible adventure that has seen our partnership grow during three decades, and three different eras: innovation with the turbo engine, the new concept of the V10 – and the challenge of a full team, designing both chassis and engine."

What have been the strengths of the Renault-Elf partnership in your opinion?

"Thirty years of working together have built a very strong partnership. Today, we are almost at the point that we don’t even need to talk in order to understand the needs of the other partner! I believe our links are founded upon great shared trust, constant communication… and a love for motorsport at the very highest level. Renault and Elf have also established unique working methods, which are the foundation of our achievements. Very few partners in Formula 1 are lucky enough to enjoy such a good collaboration."

Do you have any outstanding memories of the road the two companies have travelled together?

"First of all, we must mention the efforts of François Guiter at Elf, who was crucial to the birth of the turbo project in 1977. The work by our chemists was already helping Renault gain performance: in particular, I can remember the fuels we custom-blended over a weekend to solve problems with engine knock. In the V10 era, the things that stand out are the special, high-performance fuels: between the start of 1992 and the series of wins scored by Nigel Mansell, we found 40 horsepower. And finally, I am very proud of the joint effort between Renault and Elf to make the RS25 engine reliable at the start of that season. A particular custom-made lubricant may well have made the difference when it came to winning the title that year."

Source Renault