Renault has knocked Ferrari off the top spot for the record of Formula One pole positions held by a manufacturer.
Mark Webber fronting the grid for Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix means the French car maker has now taken pole 209 times since it began competing in F1 in 1977, experiencing success in the V6 turbo, V10 and V8 eras.
Ferrari have taken first position 208 times. Webber’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, below, led the driver’s championship before the race, and Webber said he would do nothing to aid Vettel’s title bid. Vettel was set to clinch the title immediately if he took the chequered flag with Fernando Alonso below eighth position. He ended up winning the race, but Alonso finished fourth. Vettel, who had a 90 point lead over Alonso following the race with only 100 still available is almost certain to seal the title at the next race in India. It would be his fourth consecutive world title, making him one of the most successful racing drivers in history.
Renault has won 160 Grand Prix and 11 constructors’ championships, and has powered seven of its drivers to F1 titles. Vettel has amazingly won one in five of the car firm’s pole positions.
In comparison, Ferrari had won 221 Grand Prix before the Suzuka race, winning the constructors’ championships 16 times and the drivers’ championships 15 times.
Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director said the team was “immensely proud” of the pole position record. He said: “Since 1977 we have been able to consistently power cars to pole position, demonstrating not just the overall strength of the expertise within the group, but our ability to work with the teams to create fast cars.
“Our ethos has always been to provide the means for the chassis teams to be able to design the best car they can, with as few compromises as possible. We’ve kept this tradition from the very first V6 to the final V8 that will race for the last time just a few weeks from now. To get this record gives us even more motivation to maintain our success rate into the challenging era of the new generation 2014 V6 turbo.”
Renault’s first pole position was won by Jean-Pierre Jabouille in 1979 at the South African Grand Prix.
Six different teams have taken pole with Renault’s engines: Elf Renault, Lotus, Williams, Benetton, Renault F1 Team and Red Bull Racing.