Usually when an auto manufacturer reaches a milestone, or achieves a milestone, launches special anniversary edition or one-off vehicle to celebrate the success. It was highly unlikely of Renault Motorsports to launch a Teapot to celebrate one such event, a celebration of completing 40 successful years in Formula 1.
As weird as it may sound, but this is the truth that Renault has launched the ‘Yellow Teapot’ to celebrate its first appearance in F1 during the 1977 season. But the Yellow Teapot is not just a random product that Renault just thought of launching. The Yellow Teapot actually glorifies the first Renault F1 car, the RS01, which was once jokingly called as the ‘Yellow Teapot’ by Ken Tyrrell, the boss of his own outfit after watching a smoking car pass front of his garage.
The expression was adopted by his fellow teammates, followed by other teams. Eventually, the Yellow Teapot expression became synonymous with the Renault team. The RS01 was the first ever race machine in the history of Formula 1 to use turbocharging technology at the 1977 Silverstone Grand Prix and kicked off an era of high-horsepower competition with forced induction.
The turbocharging technology, produced white smoke and every time Renault car entered a pit, it seemed like it has an engine trouble. But the technology was later used by some of the manufacturers a couple of years later. And still today, modern Formula 1 cars are equipped with this hot air recirculation technology, giving the F1 cars much needed power.
As for the Yellow Teapot design, it comes with a really attractive shade that combines Renault’s yellow and black livery by using a dark base, brighter top, and pinstripes for extra visual delight. The angular handle evokes the wing of an F1 car, and the spout resembles the car’s nose cone. In addition is the top portion from where you add water that resembles the vehicle’s cockpit and intake.
Renault didn’t get an early success in the F1 participation and it was in 1979, two years after their arrival in the sports that they won the first race at the Grand Prix de France in Dijon, 1979. The driver behind the race was also the engineer of RS01 – Jean Pierre Jabouille, which validated the concept of turbo and won respect from other teams, especially the British teams.
Since then, Renault has won 11 Drivers’ Championships, 12 Constructors’ Championships, 170 wins from 24 drivers and 481 podiums, making Renault one of the most successful outfit in the history of F1. As of 2017, Renault races as a constructor with Nico Hulkenberg as one of its drivers. Though, Renault team is not that successful in both driver’s and constructors’ championship.
As for the Renault Yellow Teapot, it will go on sale in September and sells for 129 euros ($147 at current exchange rates). Only 40 of the pieces will ever be made and interested customers can get one from the Atelier Renault on the Champs-Elysées or at the Atelier’s online store. The restaurant there will also be using them.