The Alpine Formula 1 Team is based at the 50 million Euro Whiteways Technical Centre, 4 miles east of Enstone. Alpine is the sports car brand of the Renault Group.
Many of the staff live locally and the Apline Team management liaise directly with Enstone Parish Council on local matters. The technical wizardry to produce a Formula 1 car is immense and all the components except the engine are designed and manufactured at the Enstone centre.
- On race day the Race Control Ops Centre is packed with people where 40,000 race outcome possibilities are crunched by Alpine F1’s computers every single lap of the Grand Prix.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics efforts generate 60 terabytes of data every week.
- For testing aerodynamics there is a wind tunnel and a seven post test rig for testing suspension components. For testing the drivers skills there is a simulator sophisticated enough to simulate the effects of any new parts the team might be working on, allowing drivers to give something close to real-world feedback.
- The cutting edge manufacturing techniques use 3D printing as a vital tool for making prototype parts including extremely complicated exhaust systems.
- One of the cleanrooms is used to laminate carbon fibre ply using a laser-guided machine before the chunks of CF are sent to the ‘autoclave’ for cooking. Nearby, you’ll also find a CT scan machine and an X-ray used to inspect parts for defects, mirroring similar processes used by the aerospace industry.
Renault opted to rebrand its works F1 team as Alpine ahead of the 2021 season as part of a wider overhaul of the group’s brands and car companies. In 1977, Renault entered Formula One as a constructor but withdrew at the end of 1985. Renault returned to Formula One in 2000, when it acquired the Enstone-based Benetton Formula team (formerly Toleman). In 2002, Renault re-branded the team as Renault F1 Team and started to use Renault as their constructor name, winning both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in 2005 and 2006.
For the 2011 season, the team competed under the name Lotus Renault GP but retained the Renault constructor name. In 2012, the team changed their constructor name to Lotus and operated as Lotus F1 Team until the end of 2015, they returned to the control of Renault as a works manufacturer until the end of the 2020 season.