Exclusive interview with Renault team boss Eric Boullier

Exclusive interview with Renault team boss Eric Boullier

Dieter Rencken grills Formula 1's newest team boss, Renault's Eric Boullier, who takes the top spot at his nation's team aged just 36

It was an enduring irony of Renault's Formula 1 programme that all the company's successes were spearheaded by foreigners: Frank Williams and Patrick Head provided the chassis hardware and management for the then-state-owned French company's first title successes (1992-3), with team's next championship coming in 1995 via the Italian-owned, British-based Benetton operation headed up by Flavio Briatore, an Italian playboy employing Germany's Michael Schumacher.

True, the champion driver in 1993 was French (Alain Prost), but how those Gallic civil servants responsible for approving budgets for Renault's F1 engine facility in Viry-Châtillon on the outskirts of Paris must have cringed. Privatised during that 1995 Benetton walk-over season, things got marginally better for Renault in 1997 when Jacques Villeneuve, a Canadian French-speaker, won for Williams-Renault in 1997. But even here he succeeded former team-mate Damon Hill, who beat him to the 1996 title.

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