After a ten year absence, which has seen VW, Mercedes and Mugen become strong players in Formula 3 (F3), Renault has announced it is to return as an engine supplier in partnership with ORECA.
Teaming up with Team Signature, a team also returning to F3 after a two year absence, the all French operation will field two Dallara-Renaults starting in 2014 aiming to bring back a French flair to the F3 Euro Championship last seen when Alain Prost drove a Renault.
ORECA, which previously ran Renault engine machines, will now help the car manufacturer with its engine development. ORECA boss Hugues De Chaunac explained: “Formula 3 was a great era for Oreca and it’s fantastic for us to be back in the championship, which is being restored to its rightful place in motorsport. We scored a number of wins with Renault and we are getting ready to embark on a new challenge together, one we hope will end in success. That is what we are aiming for at least, though we know we’ll be facing some very stiff opposition.
“This is a major project for our engine department and consolidates its standing on the European scene. We share the same desire for succeed and to innovate, and it is very important to us to be a significant link in a development programme that offers a route into F1.”
The plan has effectively created a Renault exclusive ladder system starting from next year starting with junior series Formula Renault 1.6 – which is aiming to be part of the BTCC package – starting everything off before drivers move to various Formula Renault 2.0 championships before stepping into F3 and then onwards to World Series by Renault.
“Formula 3 occupies a special place in the history of single-seater racing. Inspired by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, its renewal was all the persuasion we needed to make our return. The partnership with ORECA recalls past glories, although we are both looking firmly to the future and share the same big ambitions.
“Over these last few years we have seen a lot of young drivers such as Jules Bianchi, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne enjoy the benefits of F3 and increase their expertise after Formula Renault 2.0 and before moving on all the stronger for it to Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Our involvement in Formula 3 allows us to add another step to the pathway to Formula One which was set up by Renault Sport. The new FIA Formula 3 European Championship convinced us to return, and we are very happy to be able to join up with Signature, one of the leading players in this formula,” stated Arnaud Boulanger, Motorsport Director at Renault Sport