RENAULT AND ORECA TO RETURN TO FORMULA 3—
Following a 10-year absence, Renault is set to make its return to the Formula 3 grid. The result of the partnership between Renault Sport Technologies and Oreca, the Renault will be used by several teams in the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In making this commitment, in conjunction with the World Series by Renault, Renault Sport Technologies has further strengthened its Formula One driver development programme.
Those who remember Alain Prost’s rise to the top of the motorsport ladder will also recall the trio formed by Renault, Oreca and Formula 3. After making his breakthrough in Formula Renault, the Frenchman won the 1979 national and European F3 championships at the wheel of a car powered by Renault and prepared by Oreca, a dual triumph that paved the way for Prost’s step up to Formula One and greatness.
Renault Sport was a regular presence in F3 before bowing out in 2003. Its return next year marks the start of an exciting new era that will also see the FIA’s Formula 3 European Championship receive a revamp.
In its bid to ensure the successful design and development of a new engine, Renault Sport Technologies have entered into a partnership with French motorsport giants Oreca, who have worked closely with Renault on many occasions in the past. In line with all powerplants in the category, the Renault by Oreca will be a 2L, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder engine with direct injection.
“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,” said Renault Sport Technologies Motorsport Director Arnaud Boulanger. “The partnership with Oreca recalls past glories, although we are both looking firmly to the future and share the same big ambitions. With Formula Renault 1.6, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 3.5, we already have in place an effective pyramid system leading to Formula One. Our involvement in F3 will allow us to add an intermediate step. 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 technical expertise after Formula Renault 2.0 and before moving on all the stronger for it to Formula Renault 3.5 Series.”
“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,” said Oreca CEO Hugues de Chaunac. “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.”