Rene Arnoux


  • Pontcharra, Isère, France Place of Birth
  • 4 July 1948 Date of Birth
  • 1978 South African Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Ligier Current/Last Team

René Alexandre Arnoux was among the many French drivers in the late ’70s and early ’80s who were predicted to become France’s first Formula 1 champion.

BornRené Alexandre Arnoux
4 July 1948
Pontcharra, Isère, France

After debuting with Surtees in 1978, Renault quickly signed Arnoux to partner with Jean-Pierre Jabouille in their temperamental turbo cars. He claimed his first two victories in Brazil and South Africa, leading the 1980 championship after three rounds. However, he fell to sixth place overall, scoring only 11 more points throughout the rest of the season.

In 1981, Alain Prost joined as his teammate, significantly impacting Arnoux’s confidence with his speed. Arnoux retaliated in 1982 by defying team orders and winning the 1982 French Grand Prix, refusing to yield to Prost.

Having become an unsustainable pairing at Renualt, Arnoux moved to Ferrari for the 1983 season, where remained a championship contender until the final round of the season, the 1983 South African Grand Prix, where he retired.

Michele Alboreto outperformed Arnoux in 1984 at Ferrari and was mysteriously fired in 1985. Arnoux then joined Jacques Laffite at Ligier in 1986, but the team quickly declined, and he scored just one point with the Megatron engine in 1987. The 1988 season was similarly disappointing with Judd engines, and Arnoux developed a reputation for blocking when being lapped, a theme that persisted through his final season in 1989.

Beyond F1, Arnoux took part in the Grand Prix Masters championship for ex-F1 drivers in 2006 and 2007.

Rene Arnoux Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1978–1989
TeamsMartini, Surtees, Renault, Ferrari, Ligier
Entries165 (149 starts)
Career points181
Pole positions18
Fastest laps12
First entry1978 South African Grand Prix
First win1980 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last win1983 Dutch Grand Prix
Last entry1989 Australian Grand Prix



Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
French Williams 1980 Argentine Grand Prix F1 Legend
Italian Minardi 1981 San Marino Grand Prix Died
French Williams 1974 German Grand Prix Retired


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Surtees British 1970 Historic
Renault French 1977 Historic
Ferrari Italian 1950 Current
Ligier French 1976 Historic