BIOGRAPHY
Full Name René Alexandre Arnoux
Nationality French
Born 4 July 1948, Pontcharra 
Died
Website
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FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CAREER
Entries Races Non-Starts Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts DNFs
165 149 16 18 7 22 12 181 70
First Grand Prix Last Grand Prix
1978 Belgian Grand Prix 1989 Australian Grand Prix
Season Team Chassis Engine Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1978 Martini
Surtees
MK23
TS20
Ford Cosworth 3.0 V8 4
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0 NC
1979 Renault RS01
RS10
Renault 1.5 V6T 5
9
2
0
0
0
0
3
0
2
0
17
8th
1980 Renault RE20 Renault 1.5 V6T 14 3 2 3 4 29 6th
1981 Renault RE20B
RE30
Renault 1.5 V6T 4
10
0
4
0
0
0
1
1
0
2
9
9th
1982 Renault RE30B Renault 1.5 V6T 16 5 2 4 1 28 6th
1983 Ferrari 126C2B
126C3
Ferrari 1.5 V6T 9
6
4
0
1
2
3
4
0
2
19
30
3rd
1984 Ferrari 126C4 Ferrari 1.5 V6T 16 0 0 4 2 27 6th
1985 Ferrari 156/85 Ferrari 1.5 V6T 1 0 0 0 0 3 17th
1986 Ligier JS27 Renault 1.5 V6T 16 0 0 0 0 14 10th
1987 Ligier JS29B
JS29C
Megatron 1.5 L4T 3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
19th
1988 Ligier JS31 Judd 3.5 V8 14 0 0 0 0 0 NC
1989 Ligier JS33 Ford Cosworth 3.5 V8 9 0 0 0 0 2 23rd
OTHER CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1973 European Formula Renault 1st
1974 European Formula Renault 1 7 13 6 167 1st
1975 European Formula Renault Elf Martini 8 9 8 159 1st
1976 European Formula 2 Ecurie Elf 12 1 3 6 6 52 2nd
1977 European Formula 2 Ecurie Renault Elf 13 1 3 6 0 52 1st
1985 Macau Formula 3 GP Murray Taylor 1 0 0 0 0 6th
2003 French Supertourisme VDO Dayton 2 0 0 1 0 16 8th
ENDURANCE RACING HIGHLIGHTS
Year Event (Class) Team Car Co-Driver(s) Result
1977 Le Mans 24 Hours (S +2) J. Haran de Chaunac Renault Alpine A442 Didier Pironi
Guy Fréqualin
DNF
1994 Le Mans 24 Hours (GT1) Rent-a-Car Racing Dodge Viper RT/10 Justin Bell
Bertrand Balas
3rd
1995 Le Mans 24 Hours (WSC) Euromotorsport Ferrari 333 SP Massimo Sigala
Jay Cochran
DNF

 Pinterest Rene Arnoux, Scuderia Ferrari 126C4 - 1984 Dutch Grand Prix


Biography

A fast and fearless little Frenchman, René Arnoux was – at his peak – as good a driver as his compatriots Didier Pironi, Jacques Laffite and Alain Prost.

Championship titles in Formula Super Renault (1975) and Formula 2 (1977), along with support of French fuel giant Elf, put him on the pathway to Formula 1.

His debut came with the little Martini team, which had itself enjoyed much success in the lower formulae and was now stepping up to the big stage in 1978 with a neat Cosworth-powered car.  Sadly, the underfunded project was doomed from the start and Arnoux was left scratching around for another drive by the mid-season.

Having run a succession of hopeless rent-a-drivers, John Surtees saw the opportunity to grab Arnoux’s services for the final races of the season.  He was unable to hang onto the Frenchman for 1979, with Arnoux off to the factory Renault team.

Paired alongside his former F2 rival Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Arnoux found his feet and began to take the ascendency by mid-season. Perhaps his most iconic moment on the Grand Prix stage came at that year’s French Grand Prix at Dijon – won by Jabouille – where he staged an epic wheel-banging battle with Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve for second place in the final laps.

Rene Arnoux, Renault RE30B - 1982 United States West Grand Prix

Arnoux’s final season with Renault came in 1982.

Back-to-back wins at the Brazilian and South African Grands Prix boded well for a tilt at the 1980 championship title, but that was as good as it got with reliability woes killing off his chances.

Renault picked up another young Frenchman in the form of Alain Prost for 1981, and with a hot young talent on their hands Arnoux was somewhat pushed to the margins. Four pole positions and just a single podium marked a poor return.

He bounced back in 1982, putting the turbocharged Renault on pole five times over the course of the season.  In a year where eleven different drivers won races, Arnoux was himself a double race-winner, however his victory over Prost on home soil – in defiance of team orders – indicated that a split was all but inevitable.

Off to Ferrari for 1983, Arnoux continued his winning form with a hat-trick of mid-season victories keeping him in contention for the title.  Agonisingly, he fell 10 points short of Nelson Piquet’s eventual tally, with the Brabham driver clinching the crown for a second time.

In 1984, however, Arnoux appeared an increasingly inconsistent and – barring a brilliant drive at the Dallas Grand Prix – disinterested figure.  Bizarrely, Ferrari kept him on for the 1985 season, but the partnership was dissolved after just one race.

“He is a pain on the backside on the race track. He is so very inconsiderate, particularly in qualifying. His driving etiquette is consistently poor and he seems to have this idea that he cannot allow himself to be overtaken.” – John Watson, 1984

He joined the Ligier team in 1986, and Les Bleus would remain his home for the next four seasons.  He showed the odd flash of form, but was generally bettered by the equally-experienced Jacques Laffite until the veteran’s career-ending crash at the British Grand Prix.  His replacement, the hitherto underwhelming Philippe Alliot, ran him rather too close for the rest of the season.

Rene Arnoux, Ligier Ford Cosworth JS33 - 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix

Arnoux was little more than a ‘mobile chicane’ in his final years on the F1 Prix stage in Ligier’s uncompetitive cars.

His complaints about Ligier’s new Alfa Romeo engine saw the Italian firm tear up its contract in the 1987 pre-season, spelling the start of a terminal decline for the once-famous French outfit.

Approaching his forties, Arnoux continued on, blithely driving as though he were still a championship contender even though neither his machinery nor his skills were up to the task.

His track manners had completely given way to a desperate hunt for a top-six finish to keep the team out of pre-qualifying each season, and the queue of frustrated drivers grew in his wake while he repeatedly forgot how to use his mirrors.

By the time he eventually bowed out of the sport at the end of 1989, his peak performances of the early 1980s were but a distant memory.

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