At last weekends ninth running of the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco, four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost got back behind the wheel of a racing car as he did a series of parade laps in his 1983 Renault F1 Turbo RE40 that he raced to second place in that years World Championship.
Prost took the RE40 to four victories that year, but was beaten to the title by the Brabham of Nelson Piquet. He took pole position at the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix so it was apt to see the Frenchman back in the car at the legendary circuit. He entertained the crowd in the Principality with a few laps of the circuit, plus the bark of the cars 750hp Renault v6 Turbo engine.
Another former Renault driver ingrained in the history to the marquee also took to the streets in Monaco. Jean-Pierre Jabouille took Renault’s first F1 win in 1979, and was the first driver of the teams’ famous Turbo era. He did some laps in the Renault F1 Turbo F1 RS01 that he drove in 1977 and 1978, the original turbocharged car to race in F1.
With turbocharged engines back in Formula 1 in 2014, it was apt to see Renault bring out the landmark cars from back in the day at the Monaco event.
The RS01, RE40 and the Renault-powered Lotus 98T will be seen again at the forthcoming British Grand Prix in July, as part of the Silverstone circuits 50th Grand Prix celebration. Current Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean ran some laps in Prost’s RE40 during a filming day and compared it to the turbocharged car he is running in 2014.
‘It felt the same as driving an F1 today at some points, but very different in others,” said Grosjean. “The main difference is the driving position and the fact you feel you are sitting on the front wheel axle. The driveability of the engine is of course very different – you feel there is no power and then all of a sudden it kicks in and the emotions and feelings go crazy. Then the gearbox is very different and takes some time to get used to. You can feel the braking, the downforce, the car sliding, and the car is going where it wants to go. It was very nice to drive though and I wish I could have done more laps!”