With the benefit of hindsight, Jean Rédélé’s destiny was clear to see. Raised from a very young age in a world dominated by cars, racing and Renault, he also distinguished himself through an avant-garde vision of technology and business.

Born on May 17, 1922, Jean was the eldest son of Émile Rédélé, a Renault dealer based in Dieppe and formerly an official mechanic for Ferenc Szisz, the brand’s first ‘factory driver’ back at the beginning of the century. Once he had completed his studies at HEC business school in Paris, Jean came to the attention of Renault’s management for his ground-breaking business ideas. At the age of just 24, he became the youngest car dealer in France as he followed in his father’s footsteps.

Reasoning that ‘motorsport is the best way to test production cars and victory is the best sales tool’, Jean Rédélé entered his first competitive events four years later, at the age of 28.

After a trial run at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in 1950, he triumphed in the inaugural Rallye de Dieppe behind the wheel of the new 4CV, defeating a plethora of significantly more powerful rivals! This nationally-acclaimed victory convinced Renault to entrust him with a 4CV ‘1063’ – the special racing version – for the following season. While this enabled him to maintain his run of success, Jean Rédélé worked hard to improve the performance of his vehicle. This quest led him to Giovanni Michelotti, from whom he ordered a 4CV ‘Spéciale Sport’, the chief feature of which was an aluminium body that was rather more aerodynamically streamlined than the original vehicle. Over the course of time, this collaboration between the French rally driver and the Italian designer gave birth to three unique models.

While awaiting the delivery of his new car, Rédélé continued to compete in his ‘1063’ as his friend Louis Pons – a Renault dealer in Paris and Etampes – became his co-driver. Always seeking to enhance performance, the pair funded the development of a five-speed gearbox, designed by André-Georges Claude. This played a particularly important role in their record-breaking class victory in the Mille Miglia, the famous road race held between Brescia and Rome.

Jean Rédélé’s career path next took him to the Le Mans 24 Hours and Tour de France Automobile. In 1953, he finally got his hands on his 4CV ‘Spéciale’, and on his very first outing in the car, he won the 4th Rallye de Dieppe ahead of two Jaguars and a Porsche! The following year, the Rédélé/Pons pairing triumphed in their class for the third time on the Mille Miglia, before going on to prevail in the Coupe des Alpes. “I thoroughly enjoyed crossing the Alps in my Renault 4CV, and that gave me the idea of calling my future cars ‘Alpines’, so that my customers would experience that same driving pleasure,” he would later reveal.

The notion of creating his own brand preyed upon Jean Rédélé’s mind, and it was his father-in-law who helped him to turn his dream into reality. Owner of the Grand Garage de la Place de Clichy on rue Forest, Charles Escoffier was one of the leading Renault dealers of the era. When he asked his son-in-law to assist with the development and marketing of a series of ‘Coaches’ already commissioned from Gessalin & Chappe, it proved to be the catalyst for the foundation of the ‘Société des Automobiles Alpine’ on June 25, 1955.


When envisioning his future creations, Jean Rédélé was keen to focus on the following basic principles: simple yet competitive mechanicals, using the highest proportion of production parts possible and all clothed by a lightweight and attractive body. In some respects, Charles Escoffier’s ‘Coach’ adhered to these prerequisites… even if Jean Rédélé did not take the credit for it!

Designed by Jean Gessalin and built by the Chappe brothers, the first prototype was presented by Escoffier to Renault’s management board in February, 1955. Once its homologation had been approved, Jean Rédélé made a number of modifications, borne out of the 4CVs developed in tandem with Michelotti. The ‘Coach’ took on the name A106: ‘A’ for Alpine and ‘106’ in reference to the code name of the 4CV (1062), which served as a source for parts.

At the beginning of July, three Alpine A106s in the colours of the French flag – one in blue, one white and one red – paraded through the courtyard of Renault’s headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt. Even if he was not particularly fond of the design of the first Alpine, Jean Rédélé was nonetheless extremely proud to have become a full-fledged car manufacturer in his own right.

Mechanically, the Alpine A106 used the same chassis and suspension as the 4CV. The 747cc, four-cylinder in-line engine was offered in two versions – one producing 21hp, the other 38hp. This first Alpine stood out above all for its polyester body, fitted to the original chassis of the 4CV.

As options, it was possible to equip the A106 with the ‘Claude’ five-speed gearbox or the ‘Mille Miles’ suspension, composed of four rear shock absorbers.

True to his principles of continuous improvement – at a time before ‘Kaizen’ had entered the motor industry vocabulary – Jean Rédélé relentlessly sought to make advances to the A106. Tiring of Gessalin & Chappe’s reluctance to evolve the vehicle, the Dieppe native elected to open his own production facility: RDL. This spirit of independence was further evinced in the launch of a cabriolet version, designed by Michelotti and unveiled at the 1956 Paris Motor Show. A third variation saw the light of day in 1958: the A106 ‘Coupé Sport’ – effectively the cabriolet but with a hard-top!

With 251 cars produced between 1955 and 1960, the A106 enabled Jean Rédélé to successfully establish his business – but that was only the first phase…


Should we talk about the A108 or the A108s? There were so many different body types and configurations that it is difficult to paint an accurate picture of the history of a model of which 236 examples were built between 1958 and 1965.

The A108 appeared for the first time at the 1957 Paris Motor Show. The body of the A106 ‘Coach’ – produced by Chappe & Gessalin – and the RDL cabriolet were initially retained, with the real changes taking place under the bonnet: the engine from the 4CV was replaced by the 845cc ‘Ventoux’ powerplant from the Renault Dauphine. Over time, it became possible to instead opt for a re-bored 904cc unit prepared by Marc Mignotet, or the 998cc engine from the Dauphine Gordini.

The style evolved too, based on a variant of the A106 conceived by Philippe Charles, a young designer aged just 17! Using the Michelotti-designed cabriolet as his starting-point, he covered the headlights with a Perspex bubble and made the rear of the car longer so as to achieve a slimmer and more streamlined shape. Jean Rédélé entered two of these berlinettes for the 1960 Tour de France Automobile (for Féret and Michy) and the model’s critical success was such that the new look was soon transferred across to the cabriolets and ‘Coupé-Sports’ produced by RDL.

Another significant corner was turned in 1961, with the generalisation of the ‘beams and backbone’ chassis across all models. This architecture was based on a robust central beam, onto which were grafted side rails that supported the front and rear sub-frames. Enhancing stiffness and reducing weight, this innovation would be the secret behind the superb handling of Alpine cars throughout the generations.


Whilst well aware that international expansion would likely yield fresh channels of growth, Jean Rédélé came up against insufficient finances, meaning he was unable to create and develop a traditional export network. Undeterred, he found another way in suggesting to industrial partners that they manufacture his cars under licence.

It must be said that Alpines were relatively easy to assemble, even for unqualified labour. They were also highly-regarded for their reliability, since they used mass-produced mechanical components from Renault.

Following a failure in Belgium – where less than fifty A106s were manufactured by the Small factory – it was in Brazil that Rédélé achieved a breakthrough. The Willys-Overland firm, which already manufactured Dauphines under a Renault licence, began production using equipment supplied by the Dieppe factory. From 1960, ‘Interlagos’ models – named after the famous Brazilian motor racing circuit – left the Sao Paulo workshop. At first glance, only the trained eye could distinguish an ‘Interlagos’ from its Alpine A108 sister car.

This partnership continued with the A110, and in total, around one thousand berlinettes and cabriolets were produced up until 1966.

As in France, these Alpines manufactured across the other side of the Atlantic proved to be very capable in motorsport, most notably in endurance races such as the Mil Milhas. Indeed, it was after starting out in ‘Interlagos’ models that the likes of Carlos Pace, Emerson Fittipaldi and brother Wilson Fittipaldi headed to Europe in order to climb the career ladder all the way up to Formula 1.

This collaboration served as a model for similar agreements in Mexico (Dinalpin), Spain (Fasa) and Bulgaria (Bulgaralpine). All-in-all, nearly 15 per cent of Alpines were built under licence abroad.


In providing the visual identity conceived by Philippe Charles and the ‘beams and backbone’ chassis architecture, the A108 laid the foundations for the A110, which appeared in 1962. As the 4CV had done for the A106 and the Dauphine for the A108, it was the R8 that acted as a parts bank for Jean Rédélé’s latest creation.

The relationship with Renault – close from the very first day – was further strengthened when the French manufacturer tasked Alpine with representing it in motorsport. What’s more, from 1967, every car produced would bear the official name ‘Alpine-Renault’.

Buoyed by the brand’s excellent results in rallying, the Berlinette went on to achieve tremendous commercial success. In order to respond to increasing demand, Alpine found itself needing to adapt its manufacturing set-up, with production henceforth shared between the workshop on avenue Pasteur, the original Dieppe factory and the new plant in Thiron-Gardais (Eure-et-Loir).

Over the course of its different versions, the A110 evolved constantly. The 1108cc engine was succeeded in-turn by 1255cc, 1296cc, 1565cc and 1605cc units. Outward changes were minor, but frequent: a grille incorporating four headlights, extended wheel arches, front radiator, removable rear apron… In 1977, production drew to a close with the 1600SX, fitted with a 1647cc powerplant.


Designed in compliance with the instructions of Jean Rédélé himself, the Alpine A310 looked set to enable the brand to capitalise upon the success of the Berlinette – but the oil crisis of 1973 brought a shuddering halt to the upward momentum and caused a significant drop in sales. Bit by bit, Alpine picked itself back up by evolving its new model, introducing fuel injection in 1974, the V6 PRV engine in 1976 and the same rear suspension as the Renault R5 Turbo in 1981…

In 1985, the new GTA made its debut. This model marked a further departure for Alpine from the spartan concept of the Berlinette as it turned its attentions towards the Grand Tourisme world. In its range-topping version complete with V6 Turbo engine, the GTA generated some 200hp, which led the media to dub the car as a ‘fighter jet for the road’!

In 1990, the A610 joined the Alpine line-up with a 2,963cc V6 Turbo powerplant. Despite the press praising its handling abilities and dynamic performance, this model struggled to find its niche amongst the public and was discontinued in 1995.

After production of the A610 ceased, the Dieppe factory focused its efforts on the manufacture of numerous high-performance models for Renault Sport, from the R5 Turbo to the Clio R.S., Renault Sport Spider and Clio V6, much like the Renault 5 Alpine had been made there before them. Today, this historic site – which has always proudly retained the Alpine logo on its walls – is right at the heart of the brand’s rebirth.




Key race points:

–       Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat started from close to the back following grid penalties for introducing new power unit elements earlier in the weekend. The pair displayed a good speed and were able to graduate to the top ten by the first round of pit stops. A very long first stint for Ricciardo gave him track position and he was able to close on the Sauber of Ericsson in the closing third of the race by a rate of one second per lap. He got past on the final lap, sealing eighth position.

–       Scuderia Toro Rosso also incurred grid penalties for taking new engine components. Carlos Sainz had a good start and raced in front of the Red Bull cars, but a five second penalty for exceeding the track limits dropped him behind. He came home in 11th.

–       Max Verstappen finished in 12th. He served a drivethrough penalty after an infringement in qualifying yesterday, but fought back to finish just behind his team-mate.

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations:

We introduced a number of new elements to be able to get to the end of the season without incurring further penalties. Starting with all four cars at the back of the grid we had relatively low expectations for the race outcome so a double points’ finish is better than hoped. The speed was good, particularly from Ricciardo in the second half and especially at the end, where he was able to grab eighth on the last lap. If we can carry this performance through to Singapore, a track that should suit us better, and start in more representative positions we should show form that is much closer to our actual performance.

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director:

This weekend was a calculated sacrifice on behalf of the coming races. We looked at all the different options with the teams and knew this track would not be best suited to either, so took the opportunity to introduce as many new parts as possible. Hopefully this should give us the flexibility for the rest of the year so we can make the most of our improved performance.




Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: It was a good race for the team. The mandate from the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend. If there were 15 points on the table, we had to come away with 15 points. The great news is that we’ve taken 27 points and a podium. We’ve moved away from the people behind us in fourth by a good amount, which was the absolute priority. We’ve kept pace with Ferrari, so in championship terms it’s been a good weekend for us. We came out of what was not a particularly good race in Belgium, from both a performance and operational point of view, and we’ve reacted really well. They team were absolutely spot on all weekend which is a great show of the strength and depth we have at Williams now.
Felipe Massa: It’s really emotional to have been on the podium. It was a difficult but fantastic race, I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to pass cars so it was good enough. I worked hard to open the gap to Valtteri, but when I pitted early it gave him the advantage on tyres at the end of the race. It was hard to keep him behind as he really wanted it, but I just about managed it. I am delighted for myself and the team, we got a lot of valuable points. It’s special to be up on the podium at Monza again, and I really thank the team for their effort today.
Valtteri Bottas: It was a good result for the team today, good points which is important. My pitstop lost me too much time which was crucial for the second part of the race. I managed to get extremely close in the end but it was too late. As I saved my tyres and brakes I was able to attack in the final laps but we had system issues on the last lap, so we need to investigate what happened because I also lost an opportunity there. It’s a shame for me that I couldn’t be on the podium but it’s still good points for us.



Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as the winner of the Italian Grand Prix after an investigation into a tire pressure breach.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team were called to see the race stewards immediately after the Briton romped to victory in Monza.

But after a near two-hour investigation they reached a verdict to allow Hamilton to keep his victory.

It means Hamilton will head to the Singapore Grand Prix with a 53-point lead over Nico Rosberg who retired with an engine problem.

The 30-year-old held off the challenge from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the run down to turn one and from there he never looked back.

Vettel followed Hamilton home while Rosberg retired after his engine blew up with just two laps remaining.

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa crossed the line in third for Williams.

As far as dominant race weekends go, Hamilton is unlikely to have sampled one like this before.

The British driver headed into Sunday’s race having topped every practice and qualifying session. He followed that up with a lights-to-flag victory and posted the fastest lap, too.

The Monza venue is known as the ‘temple of speed’, but for Rosberg it was more the ‘temple of doom’.

The German, who had already reverted to an inferior Mercedes engine, after his packed up in practice on Friday, started from only fourth on the grid.



Season race: 27 of 33
Track: Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
Winner: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Pole position: Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: sunny and warm

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) concluded the FIA Formula 3 European Championship weekend at the 4.684 kilometres long Autódromo Internacional do Algarve with his ninth victory of the season. Behind the 23-year-old Swede, who extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship standings, Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) and Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) finished second and third. The Canadian also picked up the trophy for the best-placed rookie. George Russell (Carlin), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Fortec Motorsports) rounded out the top six in the 27th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championshp season. Rosenqvist is now 34.5 points ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), who is second in the drivers’ standings with six races remaining.

In bright sunshine, Felix Rosenqvist made perfect use of his pole position and took the lead at the start. On the first few metres, Jake Dennis and Lance Stroll slotted in behind him. Markus Pommer (Motopark) and Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) collided while still on the opening lap and retired. The safety car was deployed to allow for the cars of the two Germans to be recovered.

At the restart on lap five, Prema driver Rosenqvist was wide awake and remained in the lead. Further down the order, Antonio Giovinazzi overtook rookie drivers Callum Ilott (Carlin) and Dorian Boccolacci (Signature) and claimed eighth place. In the race, that particularly provided action in the midfield with numerous overtaking manoeuvres, the Italian went on to finish eighth behind Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing). Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) and Dorian Boccolacci rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth place respectively. For New Zealander Cassidy, who made his FIA Formula 3 European Championship comeback in Portugal, this result brought him the first two championship points.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “I was particularly cautious at the start, because I wanted to avoid a collision with my team-mates. After that, I mainly focussed on my tyres as they weren’t the freshest anymore. Therefore, I tried to maintain the gap to Jake at one second. I reckon that we have done a great job as a team here and we have shown that we are the fastest. As far as the championship is concerned, I am working from one race to another. Here at Portimão, things were going really well for me, but that can change quickly. Therefore, we have to keep working and stay focussed until the end of the season.”

Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam): “My tyres were newer than Felix’s, but I wasn’t able to benefit from this advantage. At no point in the race I was able to get closer than one second. All of a sudden, I saw that there were only three laps to go – I thought that the race would still be longer at that point. From then on, I did my utmost, but second place was all I could manage. In the final two meetings at the Nürburgring and Hockenheim, I will keep on pushing, because in fourth place of the drivers’ standings, I have nothing to lose.”

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “For me, it was a pretty straightforward race without a lot of action. My start wasn’t good, probably the worst of the season. As a result, I lost one place to Jake. For large parts of the race, I was able to keep up with Felix and Jake, but towards the end, I was no longer able to do so and I had to let them go. I still have to work on keeping up my performance until the end of the race.



American passes Vandoorne for win in feature race
Alexander Rossi came to Monza this weekend to peg back Stoffel Vandoorne’s lead in the drivers’ championship, and this afternoon he did just that: the American trailed the McLaren test driver for lap after lap before blasting past on lap 23 en route to a storming victory in today’s feature race from Vandoorne and Mitch Evans.
Poleman Pierre Gasly made a strong start when the lights went out to hold the lead of the race into Rettifilio, while fellow front row starter Vandoorne was slow off the line, handing Alex Lynn a line inside and through. Further back Rossi, who was P9 out of turn one, had the first lap of his life to cross the line in P5, putting him in prime position to watch Sergey Sirotkin relegate Vandoorne to P4 on the next lap before a safety car emerged for Meindert van Buuren’s broken car after the Dutch rookie found the wall at Ascari.
The race went live again on lap 5, with Vandoorne surprising his rivals by stopping next time through to switch to primes: most of the top ten started on the option tyre, and now had to look at when to stop to avoid the Belgian jumping them all. Gasly stopped from the lead on lap 8, emerging just behind Vandoorne and with a loose right rear to compound his problems, undoing the Frenchman’s good work completely when he soon retired. Lynn, Sirotkin and Rossi stopped next time through, with the Russian making short work of the Series leader for a provisional lead two laps later.
Unfortunately for Sirotkin, Lynn ran too deep at turn one next time through, with the resultant damage eventually halting both men’s races and handing the advantage back to Vandoorne, but Rossi sat behind his rival for lap after lap, waiting for his moment to pounce,  while at the front  Richie Stanaway and Artem Markelov fought tooth and nail to hang onto the lead on track before their eventual stops, ahead of Norman Nato and Rene Binder.
The lead pair finally stopped on lap 21 before re-commencing their battle, with the new lead pairing both stopping next time round as Rossi lined up to strike: on lap 23 the American unleashed, sliding inside Vandoorne at the Rettifillio for the lead of the race. The Belgian threw everything he had at his rival, but the American had him covered for his second win of the season.
Norman Nato finished a fine third on track, but a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pitlane undid his good work, dropping the Frenchman to P6 on the classification: Mitch Evans was the primary beneficiary after a superb drive from 23rd at the start all the way to the podium, making up for yesterday’s disappointment and holding off countryman Richie Stanaway after a late race battle, with Markelov in P5 ahead of Nato. Arthur Pic held off Jordan King, who will start tomorrow’s sprint race from pole, while Robert Visiou and Binder claimed the final points on offer.

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